China to restart nuclear projects in 2012: report

China will start approving new nuclear power projects next year after suspending them in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima atomic plant, state media said Wednesday.

China ordered safety inspections of its nuclear plants and suspended approval of new projects after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan sparked the world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

The China Securities Journal, a business daily, said the inspections were completed at the end of August and the results would soon be made public.

China's aim to increase its nuclear power capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2015 from 10.8 gigawatts in 2010 is unaffected by the review, the report said.

But it may have to revise downwards a goal to reach 80 gigawatts by 2020, it said, citing experts.

China, the world's second largest economy, has said it aims to get 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, compared to just over one percent now.

It currently has 14 nuclear reactors and is building more than two dozen others -- estimated at 40 percent of all reactors being built worldwide.

More are on the drawing board as China struggles to meet soaring energy demand to feed its booming economy. Despite the Japanese calamity, Beijing has insisted that atomic energy will remain a key part of its energy mix.

Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility was rocked by a series of explosions, fires and radiation leaks after the 9.0-magnitude quake and monster waves cut power to the plant and caused reactor fuel rods to heat up dangerously.

Entire towns were destroyed by the disasters, which left almost 25,000 people dead or missing along the shattered Pacific coast.


Other news