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More pressure on nuclear industry

Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 - 02:00

Mar. 17 - China's main stock index falls after the government suspends approvals for planned nuclear plants, increasing pressure on the industry as the crisis continues in Japan. Ciara Sutton reports

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TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NO ACCESS JAPAN/CLEARED FOR INTERNET USE, EXCEPT BY JAPANESE WEBSITES / BBC WORLD, CNNI, NBC, CNBC MUST ON-SCREEN COURTESY 'TV TOKYO' IF PICTURES TO BE SHOWN ON CABLE, COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE IN JAPAN** The nuclear industry continues to take a battering following the crisis in Japan. China's main stock index has fallen 1.1 percent after the government suspended approvals for planned nuclear power plants. Nuclear power equipment makers lead the fall in the Shanghai Composite. China itself has suffered huge earthquakes and it's nuclear ambitions are likely to slow after the government ordered safety checks on nuclear plants. But many shareholders in Shanghai aren't worried. SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 64-YEAR-OLD ZHU DAXIONG SAYING: "I don't think it (the impact) will be big. Since our stock market is quite independent, any impact would be short term. Like today I found the market was quite low when it opened, but it rose back just now." Engineers in Japan are fighting to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear plant which was damaged by last week's earthquake and tsunami. Chinese experts have warned there is a risk of a similar crisis if the expansion of the nuclear program does not slow down. China is rolling out nuclear energy faster than any other country. It currently has 13 working reactors. It had planned to increase its output by eight times in less than a decade. The Hongyanhe plant in Dalian is under construction, and a dozen more after that had been planned. Han Xiaoping from China Energy Net, says the country is rolling out nuclear power too quickly (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER OF AT CHINA ENERGY NET HAN XIAOPING SAYING: "With such high-speed development, I think it's difficult for the government to supervise properly. The plants' construction and design, as well as their operation, could all have a lot of problems. " Anti-nuclear protestors have been out in force across Asia. Demonstrators in the Philippines wore ghost masks symbolising deaths from nuclear accidents. In South Korea, environmentalists held a rally in Seoul. And protesters in Taiwan are angry about their government's refusal to review its nuclear policy or stop construction on its fourth nuclear plant. Ciara Sutton, Reuters

More pressure on nuclear industry

Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 - 02:00

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