Japanese Media Alarmed By Secrecy Over Chinese Nuclear Trouble

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

from http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=76952

Japanese Media Alarmed By Secrecy Over Chinese Nuclear Trouble

TOKYO, Jul 5, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) Japanese media expressed alarm Monday at a one-year delay in Beijing's revelation of an accident at China's first homegrown nuclear reactor, the 30-megawatt Qinshan 1.

Kyodo News agency, reporting from Beijing late Sunday, said the trouble had not been reported at all to the public during the 12 months following the discovery of damage in the reactor.

The influential Asahi Shimbun said Monday the accident showed "problems in technical standards and disclosure of information as China and other Asian nations are trying to speed up their development of nuclear power plants."

In Beijing, a nuclear safety official told AFP the reactor had been closed down for a year for repairs after bolts fell off and that it would resume operations next month.

Operations at the power plant in Zhejiang province had been suspended because of "a welding problem", said a spokeswoman from the nuclear safety department under the state environmental protection agency.

The Japanese government had been informed of the accident by the Chinese government "on condition it should not be made public," a Japanese official said.

Under a bilateral agreement, the two countries exchange information on problems at nuclear reactors, said the official at the agency of natural resources and energy. But he refused to give details of the accident.

The Chinese government has determined that the magnitude of the trouble was lower than Level Two on the scale of eight set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the official said.

Any nuclear reactor accident with magnitude of Level Two or above should be reported to the international body.

"We presume the accident was of Level One or Level Zero," the official said. "Any question on details should be referred to the Chinese government." ((c) 1999 Agence France Presse)

-- jjbeck (jjbeck@recycler.com), July 06, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ