BEIJING, June 23 (UPI) -- With China's growing reliance on nuclear energy, ensuring safety of the industry should be "the top priority," a China Daily article said Friday.
The article said nuclear energy has become an important source for meeting China's growing demand for electricity to sustain its strong economic growth and moving away from it any time soon would not be easy.
Despite the three-month long nuclear crisis at Japan's quake-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has raised questions about nuclear energy in other parts of the world, China plans to build 28 more reactors to augment the 13 reactors currently in operation. The government expects the number of reactors will exceed 100 by 2020.
"Under such circumstances, safety must be the top priority," the article said. "Hence, it's high time for the nation to reassess its ambitious plan for nuclear energy and shift to a slower pace in expanding its nuclear power capacity, which must be accompanied by stringent scientific tests and safety verification."
China Daily said "the ongoing international efforts to re-examine the safety of nuclear plants should serve as a much-needed chance to further strengthen the country's nuclear security."
China has suspended its approval of nuclear plants until it has strengthened its safety standards.
"Those that do not conform to safety standards must immediately cease operation or construction," the article said, while stressing China must accelerate efforts to diversify its energy structure and increase energy efficiency.