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China to sign IAEA agreement on nuke safety

August 16, 2010 16:15 IST
China is set to ink an agreement with the UN atomic watchdog to firm up cooperation in training and nuclear safety in East Asia and the world during the ongoing visit of its chief Yukiya Amano, in the backdrop of its plans to construct two new nuclear reactors in Pakistan.

It is not clear, however, whether the agreement would make any reference to the proposed two new nuclear reactors China wants to construct for Pakistan. China and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will boost cooperation in personnel training and nuclear safety in East Asia and across the world, according to a draft of the agreement, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. The agreement with IAEA is significant as China has been maintaining consistently that its cooperation with Pakistan concerning the civil nuclear technology is for peaceful purposes and being carried out under the safeguards and supervision of the IAEA.

In June this year, the state media here reported that China would go ahead with its plans to construct two 750 MW nuclear reactors for Pakistan, in addition to the two at Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab province, ignoring concerns raised by India and the United States. China so far has not informed the 46 member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),
the apex body concerning nuclear commerce, of which Beijing is a member, about the plans. Washington said it would oppose the construction of the two reactors as it would be outside the purview of the NSG guidelines. India too has conveyed its concerns to Beijing maintaining that it would wait and see how China would go about it.

Amano met Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Monday during which Zhang said China attaches great importance to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and nuclear safety. "China has been enhancing its nuclear safety work and has strictly fulfilled its obligations concerning nuclear non-proliferation while actively participating in international cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation and safety," Zhang said. Domestically too China has launched a major expansion of nuclear power plants.

It plans to expand its nuclear power rectors to 60 by 2020 from the present 12, and 23 are under construction. Zhang and Amano, a Japanese diplomat who took over charge of IAEA in December 2009, pledged to promote exchange and cooperation between China and IAEA, the report said. The visit to China is Amano's first since he became the IAEA's Director General.
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