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Safe operation urged in nuclear sector in China

05-06-2012 14:17 BJT

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Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl disaster, the Fukushima tragedy gave the global community another wakeup call on the importance of nuclear safety. As China continues to expand its nuclear sector to combat energy shortages, the country is now urging safe and efficient development of nuclear power. To find out more, we sent our reporter Li Qiuyuan to one of the country's first nuclear power plants in the southern Guang-dong Province.

Built in the 1990s, the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant sits on China's southern coast. It was the country's 1st commercial nuclear power plant, and 70% of the plant's output supplies Hong Kong's power needs. The Fukushima crisis in Japan has shaken confidence over nuclear power use. But engineers at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant have assured the public of its safety. And its geographical advantage is one of the reasons.

CCTV reporter Li Qiuyuan, Daya Bay, Guangdong Province, said," The Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant was built on a very stable crust, it's at least 100 kilometers' away from the plate junction, where crustal movements that could result in earthquake are highly unlikely to happen."

Instead, the plant's biggest safety challenge comes in the form of frequent typhoons. And that's where the emergency reaction center comes into play.

Shen Xing, Emergancy Center Director, Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, said, "A typhoon is a typical natural disaster along the coast. If the wind goes up to 27 meters a second, the emergency reaction plan will be activated. The major concern here is that the power supply could be cut off, which would then cause the water coolant system to fail."

When asked whether the public will be informed if extreme conditions ever strike, the plant’s answer is positive.

Shen Xing said, "Yes, we are obligated to notify the public. We have a special department that's designated to do this, and if the emergency reaction plan is activated, they'll file a report within 15 minutes."

To ensure the absolute safety of the last few who stay during a nuclear crisis, the emergency reaction center will be sealed to prevent any contamination by radioactive particles. To prepare for such a situation, an emergency food supply is stored there.

There's even a kitchen here. Apparently this is where the emergency foods are stored. They've got egg rolls, instant noodles, and canned fish.

Other than damage control for natural disasters, measures are in place to keep human errors to a minimum. Deeper into the station, a radiologically controlled area is strictly guarded. There are at least 5 gates and check points before one can get close to the control room-- the heart of the entire nuclear power plant.

If any part of the nuclear reactor malfunctions, the alarm system here will light up, and action will be taken immediately within seconds.

But of course, prevention is the key. Every 30 minutes, a technician will carefully inspect the operation area, to make sure that every single switch is at the right position. Gao Zhigang, who is in charge of the control room, is pretty confident about the safe operation of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station.

Gao said, "The plant's design, construction, installation, and operation have all been carried out with respect to accident prevention, to ensure the absolute safety of the nuclear power plant."

Government statistics show China currently has 15 nuclear power reactors in operation, and 28 more units are under construction. China’s nuclear power will account for 6% of its total electricity generation by 2020. This will make ensuring safety standards such as those used at Daya Bay all the more important.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: CNTV.CN

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