BEIJING. China has put a temporary halt on its ambitious program for establishing nuclear plants across the country. It has suspended the approval process of new projects and ordered safety checks on existing ones.
The State Council, which is presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, has also put a hold on ongoing pre-construction works in plants that have already been approved. China has six nuclear plants in operation, seven under construction and plans for establishing 33 more plants.
The government is revising the safety standards of nuclear plants in view of the radiation leaks in plants in Japan, the State Council said. New approval process will begin only after the new norms are worked out.
It said all reactors in operation in are safe and the country remains unaffected by radioactive leakages following explosions at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant caused by Friday's 8.9-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami.
The radioactive leakages will be diluted by air and sea before reaching the country and will not affect China, it said. China's top quality watchdog has already strengthened monitoring of radioactive substances amid leakages in Japan.
"Safety is our top priority in developing nuclear power plants," the State Council said while calling for a comprehensive safety check and enhanced management over existing plants.
The government has ordered the National Nuclear Safety Administration to step up monitoring of radioactive substances and issue alerts timely, said the statement. It has already begun nationwide radiation monitoring.