Protests force China to nix plan for $ 6 billion nuke plant via the Economic Times

BEIJING: China’s ambitious plans to expand its nuclear power industry suffered a major setback as the government cancelled plans to build a $ 6 billion atomic fuel processing plant in southern Guangdong Province following rare public protests over the project’s safety.

The planned Longwan Industrial Park project, located in Zhishan Township in the city of Heshan, has been cancelled, state-run Xinhua news agency today reported quoting the municipal government of Jiangmen, which administers Heshan, where the plant was to be built.

Many local residents expressed opposition to the project after it was made public by the Heshan government on July 4, said Wu Yuxiong, mayor of Heshan.

“The Heshan government respects the public’s opinion and will not apply for approval for the project,” Wu said.

The public’s opposition was mainly due to safety worries and environmental concerns.

The planned industrial park, with a designed capacity of 1,000 tonnes of uranium in 2020, features facilities for uranium conversion, enrichment and manufacturing of nuclear fuel equipment, involving a total investment of 37 billion yuan (USD 6 billion), one of the biggest planned by China.

Most of China’s nuclear fuel processing plants are currently based in western China, while China’s nuclear power plants are mainly based in the eastern coastal region.

The cost and inefficiency of long-distance transportation of the fuel prompted the Longwan Industrial Park project.

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