The State Council, China's cabinet, recently approved the release of a revised edition of the National Nuclear Emergency Contingency Plan. Following the latest release, the Central Government has also carried out a week-long activity to strengthen nuclear safety education nationwide.
Nuclear energy is clean and low-cost. It is playing an increasingly important role in promoting economic and social development today. As of the end of March, China has 17 reactors in operation and 28 more under construction, which is the largest scale in the world. China is driving on the fast lane to systematically develop nuclear power.
Safety is the lifeline of nuclear energy development. Emergency contingency planning provides the final guarantee that ensures nuclear security. The Chinese Government places the highest priority upon the safety and control of nuclear plants. China took measures to further enhance security of domestic nuclear projects after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in Japan in 2011.
Compared with the previous 2005 edition, the revised plan explicitly elaborates on the organizations and command mechanism responsible for dealing with nuclear emergencies, establishing a three-level emergency response mechanism that includes the Central Government, provincial administrations and agencies affiliated with nuclear facilities.
Currently, China has established eight national technical support centers and six emergency rescue teams, as well as radiation monitoring networks of the environment, ocean, food and drinking water. The country has held over 300 emergency exercises relating to nuclear safety.
Furthermore, China has set up emergency organization and command headquarters in 16 provinces and municipalities to cope with nuclear accidents. All nuclear facilities also have their emergency command control centers. In view of current efforts on nuclear safety, it is believed that China is capable of implementing emergency response measures and preparedness to prevent nuclear accidents.