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New laws aim at ensuring nuclear safety

Updated: 2016-04-02 07:58
By Cao Yin (China Daily)

China's top legislature is studying a possible new law aimed at ensuring the safety of the nuclear industry, a senior lawmaker has said.

The move comes at a time when nuclear energy is increasingly being seen as an environmentally friendly option, but one that needs safeguards because of the risk should anything go wrong.

Yuan Si, deputy director of the environmental protection and resources conservation committee of the National People's Congress, said at a recent media briefing that nuclear energy not only offers a greener source of power but also allows better use to be made of other sources of energy.

Yuan cited France as an example of a nation with a successful legal framework, noting that 78 percent of its electricity is generated by nuclear power, which benefits that nation's environment.

But accidents at facilities around the world have caused wide public concern, he said.

"There have been no such accidents in France, whose nuclear industry has very good technical protections backed by a sound legal framework," Yuan said.

New laws aim at ensuring nuclear safety

He said China has peacefully used nuclear energy for about 60 years and has an excellent safety record. "Not only that, we have built up a complete nuclear industry and gained a very solid global reputation for our use of atomic energy."

Despite the good track record, many Chinese people still have concerns about nuclear energy. Yuan said legislation targeting nuclear safety would help ease fears.

During the Nuclear Security Summit two years ago in The Hague, President Xi Jinping said China would insist on a sensible and coordinated use of nuclear energy and improve the legislative measures related to the industry.

"So, making nuclear safety a legislative issue has been a decision of the central leadership," Yuan said.

And it is Yuan's committee that is responsible for drafting the new law. "We encourage the public to take an interest in this work and are keen to hear of any ideas people have," he said.

Li Yan, a researcher with the Department of Nuclear Safety Management, part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said during a nuclear and radiation safety seminar earlier this year that legislation is needed "because nuclear development has become a must for China".

Zhang Jin, a researcher with the China Productivity Center for Machinery, said administrative rules on safety within the nuclear industry will also need to be improved.

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