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China ends nuke plant ban set after Japan disaster via Boston.com

BEIJING (AP) — China has decided to approve new nuclear power plants as part of plans to reduce reliance on oil and coal, ending the moratorium it imposed to review safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster last year.

The government’s decision Wednesday that nuclear power is safe for China takes the country in the opposite direction from some developed nations such as Germany, which decided in the wake of the Fukushima disaster to speed its complete phase-out of nuclear power. Japan is planning to phase it out by 2040.

China is the world’s biggest energy consumer, and building new reactors is a key part of Beijing’s plans to curb demand for fossil fuels.

The communist government is aggressively promoting alternatives to coal and oil in order to reduce pollution and curb its reliance on imported petroleum, which it sees as a national security risk. Still, coal is forecast to remain the country’s main energy source for decades.

The government said Wednesday it hopes to generate 30 percent of China’s power from solar, wind and other renewable sources, as well as from nuclear energy, by the end of 2015. That’s up from an earlier target of 15 percent from renewables plus 5 percent from nuclear by 2020.

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