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China ends nuclear power moratorium

June 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM   |   Comments

BEIJING, June 2 (UPI) -- China's Cabinet said it had approved a nuclear energy plan that would allow for new nuclear projects after a year of putting industry progress on hold.

China had suspended new work on any new nuclear projects in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tidal wave in Japan that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant causing partial meltdowns in several of the plant's reactors.

The disaster caused many countries to suspend nuclear projects. But China, which approved its nuclear industry's strategic plan for 2020, is seen as a pace-setter, The Financial Times reported Saturday.

"The combination of technical experience, operational experience and support that can come out of China will make China a leader in the global nuclear industry," said George Borovas, head of the nuclear practice at global law firm Pillsbury.

"We are starting to see it already. Chinese companies are in the international marketplace much more aggressively than they were one or two years ago," he said.

The plan approved by the cabinet includes new safety standards, which allows for the resumption of inspections of existing plants.

It also allows for approval of new plants with tougher standards to safeguard against the possibility of floods and earthquakes.

The cabinet's approval, "is the main hurdle," said Guo Shou, energy analyst at Barclays.

"Approvals for new nuclear reactors are around the corner, they are going to come very, very soon," Guo Shou said.

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