China shares the responsibility for global nuclear safety

China Plus Published: 2019-09-03 22:40:10
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

China on Tuesday issued its first white paper on nuclear safety, voicing the country’s determination to peacefully utilize nuclear energy, strengthen international cooperation and build a community of shared future for nuclear safety.

View of the nuclear reactors of China’s first nuclear power plant, Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, in Guangdong Province, April, 2004. [File Photo: IC]

View of the nuclear reactors of China’s first nuclear power plant, Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, in Guangdong Province, April, 2004. [File Photo: IC]

Development of nuclear energy was one of the most important technological achievements mankind has made in the 20th century. But many people have negative associations with the word “nuclear”due to the disastrous aftermath of the nuclear bombings in the Second World War and the meltdowns at the Chernobyl nuclear plant of the former Soviet Union and Japan’s Fukushima. How to maintain a balance between nuclear safety and development is a major issue of international concern.

As the world’s largest developing country, China’s development of nuclear energy has played an important role in bridging its energy demand gap and tackling the challenges of climate change. As of June this year, China had 47 nuclear power units in operation, ranking third in the world in terms of the number of units. 11 new units are under construction in the country. China has made nuclear security a national strategy, placing equal emphasis on development and safety, and it has kept a fairly good safety record in utilizing nuclear energy.

According to Tuesday’s white paper, China updates its medium-term and long-term development plans for nuclear safety every five years in line with the latest safety standards. It has established a sound system of laws and regulations regulating the industry, while continuously enhancing its capacity in rapid response and proper action to different types of radiation accidents. Between 2000 and 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted four comprehensive reviews of China’s nuclear and radiation safety regulation and gave full recognition to the country’s practices and experiences.

As the international political and economic arenas witness profound changes, there are increasing risks of nuclear competition due to enlarged trust deficit among big powers. Countries leading the development of nuclear technologies need to come together to manage such risks.

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has been promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation to ensure global nuclear security and peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. President Xi Jinping proposed a rational, coordinated and balanced nuclear safety strategy and advocated an international nuclear safety system characterized by fairness, cooperation, and mutual benefit when he attended the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague and the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. The white paper illustrated China’s contribution to the building of a community of shared future for nuclear safety. The country is the second largest contributor to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. It has signed over 50 cooperation agreements on nuclear safety to taken part in the Multinational Design Evaluation Program for nuclear power plants, and help developing countries to train nuclear safety personnel and carry out technical drills.

China has stated it will continue to place equal emphasis on nuclear energy development and safety as nuclear safety has no borders and all countries share the responsibility.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.