The coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak will not have any impact on the progress of the construction of the nuclear power plant in China in the short term and also the reactors which are already in operation have not been affected, a nuclear safety officer mentioned on Wednesday.

Allo f the unfinished reactor units resumed the construction and none of the plants currently in operation was suspended during the outbreak, Tang Bo, director of the nuclear safety inspection department at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), stated to the reporters.

Construction of nuclear power plant will not be affected by Coronavirus: China

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China originally aimed to bring total nuclear capacity up to 58 gigawatts (GW) by the end of this year, and have another 30 GW under construction, but it is not expected to meet the targets due to prior project delays and a halt in new approvals. China was initially expected to approve at least six new nuclear projects this year. It had a total of 47 plants in operation by the end of last year, with total capacity at 48.75 GW.

At the same briefing, Jiang Guang, director of the MEE's radiation safety department, said China was actively looking for new sites to build nuclear waste treatment plants, and it would also expand the capacity of its three existing facilities.

China had the capacity to treat 76,800 cubic metres of nuclear waste a year, with around 45,000 cu m being utilised, but needed to build more facilities to cope with the new reactor coming online, he added. Authorities had also chosen nine potential sites for an underground high-radiation waste treatment programme.

(With agency inputs)