A city in the eastern part of China has said it’s suspending preliminary work on a nuclear waste processing plant after days of protests by local residents over health concerns. No final decision has been made yet.
The Chinese city of Lianyungang in the eastern province of Jiangsu announced Wednesday it would suspend preparations for a possible Sino-French nuclear waste processing project after thousands of local residents had taken to the streets to protest the plan.
The protesters had called for the project to be canceled altogether on health grounds, clashing with police.
French nuclear fuel group Areva agreed in 2012 to cooperate with state-run China National Nuclear Group (CNNC) to build a reprocessing facility in China, without stating any specific location.
Suspended, but not dead
Lianyungang is seen as a prime candidate, because a large new nuclear power station is being built by CNNC nearby.
The $12.05-billion (10.81-billion-euro) waste processing project had been scheduled to get off the ground in 2020 to be completed by 2030, but its future is now unclear.
The project had been opposed by US authorities saying it would harm efforts to limit the spread of materials that could be used in weapons.
The Lianyungang protests highlighted local opposition to nuclear projects across China, which is increasing its atomic power capacity on a huge scale and encouraging state-run firms to build plants abroad.
Mainland China now has 34 nuclear power reactors in operation and 20 more under construction.
hg/jd/ (AFP, Reuters)