China Starts Program To Beef Up Nuclear Safety

The work will focus on advanced nuclear power safety technology based on improving emergency response systems and reducing risks of accidents.

SHANGHAI (AP) β€” China's National Energy Administration plans to beef up safety at nuclear power plants after months of assessments and inspections in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster.

The administration said in a statement on its website that 13 research and development projects involving theChina National Nuclear Corp. and other state-run companies and research institutions should be completed by 2013.

The work will focus on advanced nuclear power safety technology based on research and analysis of nuclear plants, improving emergency response systems and reducing risks of accidents.

China suspended nuclear plant construction after a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake on March 11 last year crippled a nuclear plant in Fukushima on Japan's northeastern coast. It was the world's worst nuclearaccident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Top officials have said China remains committed to ramping up nuclear power, to help reduce dependence on coal and oil.

Revisions of safety guidelines and other regulations are due to get government approval by March and China'sfirst pressurized water reactors, using technology developed by U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co., are due to begin operations as planned by next year.

The plans for new research projects were announced after an inspection tour of nuclear plants in southernChina by the head of the National Energy Administration, Liu Tienan, the agency said.

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