A top Chinese official’s recent disclosure about how a nuclear disaster was averted after an earthquake nine years ago is a worrisome insight into Beijing’s readiness to be upfront about its nuclear industry. Appearing on state radio in mid-February, Wang Yiren, vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, said, “During the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a situation arose similar to what happened in Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake.” Wang added that quick action by plant workers headed off a catastrophe like the one at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011. While his comments appeared designed to highlight the safety of Chinese nuclear plants, nothing was ever mentioned about a possible crisis after the magnitude-7.9 quake struck in May 2008, killing about 87,000 people. China is pushing nuclear energy as a clean energy source that can provide a stable supply of electricity for its billion-plus population. China has drawn up plans for constructing nuclear plants by 2020 that will have a combined output of 88 gigawatts.
Asahi Shimbun 21st March 2017 read more »