Beijing: China on Saturday said it was keeping a close watch on radiation leaks from a nuclear power plant in northern Japan, but it ruled out changes to its plans for massive expansion of atomic power projects, claiming its advanced reactors have built in features to avert such problems.
“China is keeping a close eye on the development of the earthquake's impact on Japan's nuclear facilities,” Chinese Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun said.
The main reactor at Fukushima nuclear plant in northern Japan, 250 kilometres north of Tokyo, exploded this afternoon leading to radiation leaks injuring four people as authorities told 45,000 residents living within a 10-km radius of the leaking plant to evacuate their homes, Kyodo news agency reported.
Lijun said officials are monitoring in coastal cities the possible influence of nuclear leaks from Japan and the tests showed China had not been affected so far.
However, he made it clear that China will not change its plan for developing nuclear power projects but will learn a lesson after a massive earthquake in Japan that resulted in a radioactive leakage.
"Some lessons we learn from Japan, will be considered in the making of China's nuclear power plans," Lijun told a press conference on the sidelines of the national parliamentary session in the capital.
He said China has 13 sets of nuclear power installations in operation and "tests have shown all of them are safe," Lijun said.
A radioactive substances leak was detected on Saturday at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., after Japan's largest-ever earthquake struck northeastern Japan on Friday, according to Japanese nuclear safety agency.
The reactors in the Japanese nuclear power plants, which have been affected by the massive quake, are Generation II reactors and have to rely on back-up electricity to power its cooling system in times of emergency, according to Lu
Qizhou, general manager of the China Power Investment Corporation.
But the AP1000 nuclear power reactors, currently under construction in China's coastal areas and set to be promoted in its vast hinterland, are Generation III reactors and have built in safety features to overcome such a problem, as they have a non-powered cooling system, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Lu as saying.