May 31, 2012 / 12:35 PM / in 6 years

China cabinet approves nuclear safety plan

BEIJING, May 31 (Reuters) - China has approved a nuclear safety plan and says its nuclear power plants meet the latest international safety standards, though some plants need to improve their ability to cope with flooding and earthquakes, state media said on Thursday.

China suspended approvals of new nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis in March 2011 following a devastating tsunami, and ordered nationwide safety checks on existing plants and construction sites. It also pledged to review its nuclear power development plan.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, approved a nuclear safety plan for 2011-2015 in a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday, state television said.

China also aims to enhance nuclear safety standards and lower the risks of nuclear radiation by 2020, the report said.

A nine-month safety inspection of China’s 41 nuclear power plants, which are either operating or under construction, showed that most of China’s nuclear power stations meet both Chinese and International Atomic Energy Agency standards, according to the report.

However, some individual power plants need to improve their ability to prevent damage from serious accidents such as earthquakes, flooding or tsunami, it said.

State media have said China will likely scale down its 2020 nuclear power generation capacity target to 60-70 gigawatts (GW) compared with earlier expectations of around 80 GW.

The government has not made any decision on when to start approving new nuclear plant projects. (Reporting by Judy Hua and Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Will Waterman)

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