BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ambitious reactor building program is set to resume in the fourth quarter following a suspension imposed after Japan’s March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, official media reported on Wednesday.
The Shanghai Securities News, citing government sources, said new safety regulations were about to be published, paving the way for China to launch new projects for the first time since an earthquake and tsunami left the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex in northeast Japan on the verge of meltdown.
Following the disaster, the Chinese government suspended construction at all nuclear power projects and ended all new project approvals pending a nationwide safety inspection, and it also promised to “adjust and improve” its plans for the sector.
Before the disaster, Beijing had been expected to set a new 2020 nuclear capacity target of more than 80 gigawatts, but that target is now expected to be scaled back. China’s current total nuclear installed capacity stands at 12.57 gigawatts.
Shanghai Securities News said China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection had already started accelerating the approval process for the nuclear sector.
It also said the second phase of the Sino-Russian Tianwan nuclear project in Jiangsu province on the eastern coast was certain to start construction in December.
Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Ken Wills