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China to build nuclear power plants at Mount Baekdu

Posted April. 04, 2011 23:19,   


China plans to build nuclear plants near Mount Baekdu bordering North Korea, with nuclear reactors under construction on the edge of the Liaoning Peninsula of Liaoning Province to go online next year as scheduled.

In case of accident, the fallout from the plants will directly affect the Korean Peninsula.

The Chinese nuclear development news network announced earlier this year that the Chinese government will start building four 1,250-megawatt nuclear reactors in Jingyu County, Baishan City, Jilin Province, and plans to operate them in March 2016. They are located about 100 kilometers from Mount Baekdu.

Experts warn that if the mountain erupts again, the plants might have safety issues.

Beijing suspended the screening of the construction of 20 plants including those in Jingyu after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, but is expected to continue construction as planned.

Jilin Province is aggressively trying to build nuclear reactors by signing a memorandum of understanding with China’s Nuclear Industrial Group, which has taken the lead in China’s nuclear industry, on March 10, a day before the earthquake hit northeastern Japan.

With growing fears over the eruption of Mount Baekdu, even volcano experts from the two Koreas held a meeting. Scientists say the safety of nuclear plants should be thoroughly reviewed.

Certain experts warn that the impact of an accident at Hongyenhe Nuclear Power Plant in Dalian, Liaoning Province, whose construction began in 2007 and will go online next year, and at Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant in Shandong Province will prove significant to the Korean Peninsula.

“The trophospheric westerlies blow from China to Korea most of the year, the jet stream in the stratosphere all year round,” Jeong Jun-seok, director of the Climate Prediction Division at the Korea Meteorological Administration, said. “In case of an accident in nuclear plants in China, radioactive materials are highly likely fly to the Korean Peninsula.”

Park Yong-deok, a researcher at Korea Energy Economics Institute, said, “Korea, China and Japan need to build a cooperative system for the safety of nuclear energy.”

mungchii@donga.com sypyo@donga.com