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UPDATED: February 21, 2012
China Starts Nuclear Power Safety Projects

The National Energy Administration (NEA) said Monday that it has launched a series of research and development (R&D) projects to improve emergency response mechanisms for nuclear power plants in case of extreme disasters.

Learning from Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis, which occurred after a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year, the projects are aimed at improving safety-related technology used in China's nuclear power plants, the NEA said in a statement on its website.

The 13 R&D projects, conducted by the China National Nuclear Corporation, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation and the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology in cooperation with Tsinghua University, are expected to be completed around 2013, according to the NEA.

Engineers and researchers will work to develop advanced nuclear power safety technology through targeted research and site analyses of nuclear power plants, the NEA said.

The NEA said it will use the research results to lower the core damage frequencies (CDFs) and large early release frequencies (LERFs) of the reactors.

CDFs and LERFs are risk assessment indicators used to predict the possibility of an incident that could damage a nuclear reactor core. Lower indicators are required for the construction of third-generation nuclear power plants.

In January, Wang Binghua, chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), said China's first AP1000 nuclear power reactor is expected to go into operation as scheduled by 2013.

China began building its first third-generation pressurized water reactors in 2009, which were also the first to use AP1000 technology developed by the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company.

China had to slow its construction efforts over safety concerns after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2012)

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