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China-US nuclear security center goes online

Updated: Mar 19,2016 9:39 AM     Xinhua

Vice-Premier Ma Kai and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz attend the opening ceremony of a demonstration activity in Nuclear Security Center of Excellence in Beijing, capital of China, March 18, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — The largest nuclear security center in the Asia-Pacific region, financed by China and the United States, opened on March 19 in Beijing.

The center, conceived by the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the US Department of Energy, has the capacity to train about 2,000 nuclear security staff from China and other Asia-Pacific nations each year, said CAEA director Xu Dazhe.

It is the largest nuclear program to receive direct funding from both Chinese and US governments.

According to the CAEA, the site will be a center for international exchanges and cooperation on nuclear security, the demonstration of advanced technology, testing and analysis.

The Chinese government has always attached much importance to nuclear security and maintained a good record for more than 60 years, said Vice-Premier Ma Kai.

It is the world’s shared responsibility to ensure nuclear security and the center exemplifies international cooperation in this regard, Ma said.

The center is a significant achievement in China-US nuclear security cooperation, and will boost cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, said Wang Yiren, deputy director of the CAEA.

It will also promote the peaceful use of nuclear power, added Wang, who is also deputy head of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

China and the United States agreed to establish the center at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010. Under the agreement, the center, located in Fangshan District, Beijing, is run and administered by China, while the United States will provide nuclear-security equipment.

The two nations have also cooperated in other nuclear security areas such as low-enriched reactors, security of radioactive sources and radiation detection by customs authorities, according to Wang.

The center will greatly improve nuclear security exchanges and cooperation between China, the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other countries and organizations, he stressed.

The Chinese mainland has 30 operational nuclear power generating units, with a total installed capacity of 28.31 GW. It also has 24 units with a total installed capacity of 26.72 GW under construction, ranking first in the world.

As planned, the nation’s installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 GW with an additional 30 GW under construction by 2020.

“Construction projects for six to eight new generators are expected to begin each year from 2016 to 2020,” Wang said.

He also said China was mulling building of offshore floating nuclear power stations.

Earlier in January, the central government published a nuclear white paper detailing policies and measures relating to nuclear emergency preparedness and highlighting a “rational, coordinated and balanced” approach to nuclear security.

The document assured the world that China had “the most advanced technology and most stringent standards” to ensure safe and efficient development of nuclear power.