Chen Qiufa stressed the six rules on nuclear energy development
  • Updated:2009-04-20
  • 【字体:Large Medium Small
  • Print

On April 20, 2009, Mr. Chen Qiufa, Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority introduced China’s nuclear energy policy at the Opening Ceremony of the “International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century”. He said that,
as an important part of modern high level technology, nuclear energy, being  a proven, safe and clean source of energy, plays an outstanding role in the economic and social development of humanity. The development and application of nuclear energy, involving with nuclear basic research, engineering design, equipment manufacturing, nuclear fuel supply, nuclear safety regulation, nuclear waste treatment and disposal, nuclear non-proliferation, public acceptance and so on, is a fairly complicated systematic engineering. Looking back on the previous history of Chinese nuclear energy for more than 50 years, and looking to the promising prospect of nuclear energy development in the new century, he believed the following six development rules should be prioritized, so as to achieve sustainable and healthy development of nuclear energy for the benefits of the society:

First, making overall planning

The development of nuclear energy should proceed from the strategic overall picture, including the national economic development, society progress and environmental protection, obtain common understanding of the society, make long-term development planning, and carry it out consistently. At the beginning of reform and opening–up, when China just began its nuclear power development, the Three Miles Island Nuclear Power Plant accident and the Chernobyl accident happened, which plunged the world nuclear industry into stagnation. The Chinese Government made the decision to continue to develop nuclear energy for economic development, which laid the foundation for China’s nuclear energy industry. In recent years, the Chinese Government has made the strategic decision of actively promoting nuclear energy development, and the Eleventh Five-year Plan of Nuclear Industry and Mid-and-Long term Nuclear Power Development Plan have been made successively. China Atomic Energy Authority, along with relevant ministries, will earnestly carry out the decisions of the State Council, and make overall plans to advance the sustainable development of nuclear industry.

Second, imposing strict regulation

China attaches great importance to the nuclear safety, and acceded to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. China has established a relatively complete nuclear safety regulation system and supervision management system. The nuclear safety regulatory authority conducts stringent, effective and independent regulation through nuclear safety licensing system, while the nuclear operation institutions strictly abide by the regulations, improve the quality assurance system and build nuclear safety culture to ensure the safe operation of nuclear facilities. In response to the emergencies such as nuclear accident, China establishes the National Nuclear Emergency Response Coordination Committee comprising 18 ministries and organizations and drew up national nuclear emergency counterplans. To resolve radioactive waste properly, China intensifies efforts in research of the critical technologies such as the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, spent fuel reprocessing, radioactive waste treatment and disposal, and lays down the strategy of regional near surface disposal of low and intermediate level radioactive waste, and deep geological disposal of high level and transuranium radioactive waste, to reduce the volume of radioactive waste and ensure the permanent safety of environment. Because of the effective measures on the issues of nuclear safety and radioactive waste disposal, nuclear energy is accepted and supported by most of the public in China, which provided conditions for accelerating development of nuclear power.

Third, consolidating foundation

China highly values development of fundamental nuclear research capabilities. With input from the Government and the industry for decades, a nuclear scientific research system, including basic study, application study and engineering study, and a batch of advanced large-scale nuclear scientific research bases have been established, and a great amount of fundamental and engineering studies have been conducted in the field of reactor, nuclear fuel cycle, accelerator, nuclear fusion with distinguished achievements. Now, High-flux Experimental Reactor, High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor have been constructed; China Experimental Fast Reactor goes well; the research of China Circumfluencor- and EAST also has some breakthroughs. The “three-step” approach of nuclear power development, from thermo reactor to fast neutron breeding reactor and then to controlled fusion reactor, is now developing steadily.

Fourth, putting in place effective control

With several decades of development, China has mastered the crucial techniques such as uranium prospecting and mining, uranium purification and conversion, uranium concentration and fuel assembly fabrication, with the production capability to some scale. China will actively participate in the discussions on establishing multilateral nuclear fuel supply mechanism with constructive attitude, and make due contribution to the nuclear energy development in the world. China strictly fulfills the international non-proliferation obligations, and establishes the nuclear material accounting and control system and nuclear export control system in line with international practice, by means of legislating related regulations and establishing dedicated institutions, to ensure the effective control of nuclear material and technology.

Fifth, focusing on the human resource development

To deal with the challenge of lack of nuclear experts, by the means of government support, and collaboration between universities and the industry, China has established a nuclear human resource development system featuring university education as the mainstay, complemented by on-the-job training in enterprises. In recent years, CAEA has implemented the 2006-2010 Nuclear Science & Technology Expertise Development Plan, and expanded nuclear major in colleges and universities. Besides, enterprises also provide on-the-job education and occupational training to improve qualities of their workforce. With years of efforts, China has built a team of high-quality professionals in nuclear research, engineering design, and construction & operation experienceand laid down a solid basis for the new stage of rapid development of nuclear energy.

Sixth, strengthening international cooperation

China places emphasis on the unique role of international cooperation for nuclear energy development, and carries out full-scale cooperation in multilateral and bilateral fronts under the principle of “China plays a major role while cooperating with other countries”. In the multilateral area, China has conducted fruitful cooperation with IAEA in nuclear technology, nuclear safety, non-proliferation, and human resource. China also actively participates in other major international cooperation programs such as GIF, ITER and GNEP, etc, contributing to the joint efforts in research on next generation nuclear technology. In the bilateral area, China has signed agreements on peaceful use of nuclear energy with more than 20 countries and organizations, such as France, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, the United States and European Union, etc, conducting mutually beneficial and substantial bilateral cooperation. With the precondition of ensuring peaceful use of nuclear energy, China also provided support in terms of equipment, technology, and expert service to other developing countries seeking nuclear energy development. It is fair to say that, China’s over 20 years of nuclear international cooperation has contributed to the nuclear energy development of its own and the world.