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China orders 3 nuclear power plants to boost disaster management

China orders 3 nuclear power plants to boost disaster management

China ordered operators of three state-run nuclear power stations to improve safety and disaster management plans following a nationwide inspection in the wake of last year’s Fukushima accident in Japan.

The Qinshan nuclear power plant will stop operations if it is hit by typhoon until the station improves flood-prevention methods, according to a risk inspection report from the National Energy Administration and the environment protection ministry. The plant in the eastern province of Zhejiang lacks a contingency plan for “severe accidents,” according to the report posted on the NEA website today.

“Qinshan has already assessed changes for flood prevention and started preliminary work design for the changes,” Guo Shou, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays Plc., said in an e-mail. “The key issue is whether these issues will delay the restart of approval of new projects, and it does not seem that way.”

China halted new atomic projects after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station and prompted a global review of plants. China’s Cabinet on May 30 granted “in principle” acceptance to a proposed nuclear-safety plan, without giving a timeline for resuming approvals.

The Tianwan station in Jiangsu province, also in eastern China, and the Lingao plant in the southern Guangdong province have only limited contingency measures to deal with accidents or natural disasters, the report said. Nuclear power facilities in Guangdong can withstand a “regular” tsunami, with waves as high as 2.7 meters (8.9 feet), and further research is needed to address the threat to plants in the coastal province, it said.

“All of the problems are fixable,” said Patrick Dai, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Some renovations are required for strengthening the structure.”