China fines nuclear component manufacturer over safety breaches

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has fined a manufacturer of components used in nuclear power plants for safety breaches at two facilities, the environment ministry said.

Dalian Teikoku Canned Motor Pump Co., Ltd , a wholly-owned unit of Japan's Teikoku Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd, 6333.T, was found to have violated operating rules concerning unit welding at the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station in Guangdong province, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP)'s website on Feb. 14.

The company also failed to register the design of a canned motor pump to be used in the Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Station in Liaoning Province, according to the MEP. Canned motor pumps are designed to offer greater protection against leaks compared with conventional pumps.

The MEP demanded Dalian Teikoku immediately halt the unauthorized activities and pay a fine of 200,000 yuan ($29,064.28). It also revoked the qualification licence of a welder who undertook work at the Yangjiang facility.

Safety in China’s nuclear industry has become increasingly important as the country seeks to increase exports of its nuclear technologies. Beijing has already signed agreements to build reactors in Argentina, Romania, Egypt and Kenya.

China plans to build more than 60 nuclear plants in the coming decade and will see total domestic capacity rise to 58 gigawatts by the end of 2020.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report into China’s nuclear safety last year saying that China’s own nuclear safety record has been strong but needs “further work” in areas such as waste management and handling ageing plants.

($1 = 6.8813 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Christian Schmollinger