Co-chairs, dear colleagues,
First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government,I would like to thank the Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for convening this meeting and express my sincere appreciation to him and the Secretariat for their efforts made to promote global nuclear safety. It is my hope that all participants may make full use of this meeting to draw upon lessons learned from nuclear accidents and put forward useful ideas and recommendations on enhancing nuclear safety through cooperation.
Since the first day of its discovery, nuclear energy has made tremendous contribution to economic and social development of mankind. Meanwhile, nuclear energy is also known for its accompanied huge risks. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, several countries had made the decision to limit future development of nuclear energy or even abandon it. We fully understand and respect their decision. However, in China’s view,in a short period nuclear energy is playing a role irreplaceable by any other energy in safeguarding energy security, promoting economic development and combatting climate change. Therefore, we should not deny the benefit of nuclear energy because of one or two nuclear accidents.
In the meantime, ensuring nuclear safety must be the prerequisite for developing and utilizing nuclear energy. As President Hu Jintao pointed out at the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit, nuclear energy is clean and it must also be safe and secure. China believes that the international community should work together to enhance the global nuclear safety and ensure that nuclear energy will benefit mankind in a safe way. For this purpose, China would like to put forward the following proposals.
First, earnestly fulfill nuclear safety responsibilities. Countries developing nuclear energy should establish appropriate nuclear infrastructure, apply relevant international nuclear safety standards and norms when selecting sites for, constructing and operating nuclear power plants, strictly implement relevant international obligations, strengthen nuclear safety inspection and supervision, attach importance to nuclear safety culture and relevant training, establish effective emergency response mechanisms, actively develop and apply innovative nuclear technologies, and enhance accident prevention and mitigation capabilites.
Second, improve international nuclear safety regime. Countries should learn lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident, review and update nuclear safety standards, with special consideration of the impact of the multiple natural disasters or extreme natural haszards and their secondary hazards which are beyond safety design basis, and tighten safety standards on areas such as site selection of power plants. Efforts should be made to further promote the universality of relevant international safety conventions. If necessary, the Convention on Nuclear Safety and Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident should be reviewed and amended on the basis of sufficient consultation among States Parties.
Third, strengthen nuclear safety capabilities through international exchange and cooperation. Countries should make full use of all possible channels and mechanisms to share experience and practices so as to enhance each country’s safety capabilities. Countries with advanced technologies and rich experience in nuclear safety should actively provide assistance to other countries, especially the developing countries.
Fourth, give full play to the role of the IAEA. The IAEA should play a leading role in assessing nuclear accidents, providing authoritative information, coordinating emergency response, updating safety standards, amending international nuclear safety conventions and promoting relevant international cooperation. At the same time, the IAEA should make full use of its resources and advantages to provide relevant technical assistance to member states. China supports the Nuclear Safety Action Plan developed by the IAEA to be fully implemented.
Fifth, advocate a collective response to nuclear accident. Countries should work to update and strengthen the nuclear accident notification mechanism to ensure that other countries, especially those may be affected, could get timely information in case of nuclear accident. At the same time, when disaster struck, help should come from all sides. Countries are encouraged to establish bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanism, including establishing regional emergency response centers, to promote the collective response to nuclear accident.
Developing and utilizing nuclear energy is a strategic decision made by the Chinese government on the basis of thorough and serious consideration. During its nuclear energy development, the Chinese government attaches great importance to nuclear safety and always adheres to the “safety first” principle. We have established a rather comprephensive nuclear safety legal and standards system, put in place an independent and effective supervision and regulatory framework, set up a comprehensive emergency response mechanism, and kept a good safety record in general. In order to enhance nuclear safety, China has always supported and actively participated in regional nuclear safety cooperation, and brought in and applied advanced nuclear power technologies.
At present, the Chinese government is continuing to draw upon the lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident, further strengthen our capability of responding to extreme natural hazards and emergency response. We will continue to adjust and improve our medium- and long-term nuclear power development plan, work out a special nuclear safety program, and formulate comprehensive management measures. We believe that China’s nuclear safety is fully guaranteed through the above-mentioned measures.
After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the international community has carried out useful discussions on strengthening international nuclear safety regime. During the “Kyiv Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy” convened last April, the participating states exchanged views on the importance of nuclear safety and the approaches to strengthen it. The IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety held last June in Vienna issued a comprehensive and important Declaration.
The Chinese side is ready to work with the international community and take an active part in relevant international discussions, so as to seek effective ways to enhance nuclear safety and make our due contribution to the safe development of global nuclear energy.
September 22, 2011