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UPDATED: May 13, 2014
China to Set up Nuclear Emergency Team

China is working to form a 300-member state-level rescue team specialized in nuclear emergencies, said a senior official Monday.

This team will respond to "serious nuclear accidents in complicated circumstances", said Yao Bin, head of the nuclear emergency and security division under the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

They will be tasked to support operators of nuclear facilities to handle contingencies, such as cordoning the radioactive source in nuclear accidents, rescuing trapped people, controling the spread of contamination and minimizing the damage, said Yao, also deputy head of a national nuclear emergency response office.

The fast-response team will be equipped with the latest devices, and the country will also build a training base for the team.

The SASTIND and the General Staff Headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are jointly working on this program, which is set to be finished by 2015, Yao said.

In the past five decades since it started civilian use of nuclear power, China has a good security record, thanks to its emergency response network, Yao said.

At the central level, 27 civilian and military departments make up of a coordination commission for nuclear emergencies, with the SASTIND taking the lead. The national nuclear emergency response office is run by the SASTIND.

Currently 19 nuclear reactors are in operation and 29 are under construction, together with dozens of institutions with nuclear facilities including hospitals, research institutes and factories.

All these institutions and power plants have their own emergency response departments, Yao said.

Also, 16 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have set up provincial nuclear emergency commissions.

The Central Government also has four state-level technical support centers and six rescue teams of smaller size, Yao said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2014)

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