BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government is likely to resume the examination and approval of nuclear power station projects this year, an industry leader said here on Saturday.
"In my opinion, the Chinese government will resume the examination and approval this year," said Wang Binghua, chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation Ltd. (SNPTC).
Wang is also a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.
China suspended the approval of new nuclear power projects and launched a nationwide safety inspection at nuclear power stations and facilities in operation and under construction over safety concerns after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
During safety inspections on nuclear power stations and other facilities that have been completed, inspectors found 14 problems that need to be rectified and improved, Wang said.
"Some of the problems have been solved and the rest will be resolved within three years," Wang told reporters at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing CPPCC annual session.
It is necessary for China to build nuclear power stations in the hinterland regions, particularly the central regions that cover Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces, he said.
These hinterland provinces are in dire need for developing nuclear power to meet the soaring electricity demand because they all lack energy resources such as coal, oil and gas, he added.
Wang said the standard for the design of nuclear power stations in the hinterland will be the same with those in coastal areas, but the requirements on discharge and emission will be much stricter.
"Technically, there is no problem for us to meet the stricter requirements," he said.
The SNPTC is a state-owned company authorized by China's State Council, or cabinet, to sign contracts with foreign parties for the transfer of third-generation nuclear power technology, project construction and self-reliance development.
Wang said China has a very good plan for nuclear power development and very sophisticated supporting policies that emphasize the use of the most advanced technology and the most stringent safety standards for developing nuclear power.
According to Wang, China has four nuclear power generating units under construction that use the third-generation, or AP1000, technologies imported from the United States.
"The Chinese and U.S. governments and enterprises are cooperating closely and all those projects under construction are going on smoothly," Wang said.
Besides assimilating imported technology, China also eyes indigenous innovation in the development of nuclear power, Wang said, adding that the Tsinghua University will begin building a high temperature gas reactor this year.
The high temperature gas reactor, which is closely related to the fourth-generation technologies, could ensure safe and reliable operations of reactors, he said.
Earlier last week, Zhao Qizheng, a spokesman for the CPPCC annual session, said China will develop nuclear power under an "extremely safe" precondition after drawing lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan last year.
Safety remains top priority in the country's development of nuclear power as China is endeavoring to design and construct third-generation nuclear power stations according to safer standards, Zhao said.