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`China Covered Up Nuke Plant Fire Last Month`

Posted September. 19, 2008 08:14,   


A big fire broke out last month in China`s biggest nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, and though a radiation leak was suspected, Chinese media did not report the accident, the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao said yesterday.

The daily said the fire occurred Aug. 26 after a transformer at the Tianwan nuclear plant exploded.

Fourteen fire engines and 66 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, but it took more than five hours to put out the blaze.

Firefighters poured fire suppression foam on the transformer, risking radiation leakage, Ming Pao said, adding, “They had difficulty extinguishing the fire since they had to disassemble the upper part of the transformer.”

Staff at the plant denied the possibility of radiation leakage, however, saying, “As soon as the transformer caught fire, it stopped operating automatically. No problem has so far been reported.”

Hwang Yong-seok, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University, said, “A generator that produces electricity and a transformer used to transmit electricity are placed apart. So there can be no radiation leakage.”

The Tianwan nuclear plant is the largest cooperative project between China and Russia. Plant No. 1 and No.2 were each completed in May and Aug. last year , both of which have a capacity to generate 1.06 gigawatts of electricity.

China, whose nuclear plants can generate up to 9.07 gigawatts of nuclear power, or 1.92 percent of its energy supply, plans to increase the capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020.