BEIJING, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- China's reliance on nuclear power cannot be reduced as the country needs to diversify its energy requirements, a senior policymaker said.
"No matter what circumstances, it is inevitable to include nuclear power as a significant component of China's effort to resolve energy problems," Zhang Guobao, advisory board chairman of the National Energy Administration, told the International Capital Conference in Paris Thursday, China Daily reported.
He said China will further develop nuclear power while ensuring its safety. However, the Chinese government has concerns, given the catastrophe in Japan.
The Chinese government has suspended approvals for new plants and ordered sweeping review of nuclear safety and atomic energy laws and regulations since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, which set off a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
China has 14 reactors, while Japan has 54 and South Korea 21, China Daily said. Another 27 reactors are under construction in China.
At the end of last year, China's installed nuclear power capacity had reached 10.82 million kilowatts, with another 30.97 million kilowatts under construction.
However, the report said China still relies heavily on coal, using 3.2 billion tons, or 46 percent of the world's total, last year. Zhang said China cannot increase its reliance coal because of pollution concerns.