China suspends all new nuclear plants, orders safety review

In a dramatic reversal, China's State Council, or cabinet, announced Wednesday that it was suspending approval for all new nuclear power plants until the government could issue revised safety rules, in light of the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan.

The State Council, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, also announced the government would conduct safety checks at the country's existing nuclear facilities and those under construction, according to a brief statement issued after the meeting and reported by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

"We will temporarily suspend approval of nuclear power projects, including those in the preliminary stages of development," the statement said.

With 13 nuclear reactors in operation, at least 26 others under construction, and more in the planning stage, China has by far the world's most ambitious nuclear power program. But that program has attracted little or no public debate or scrutiny in this authoritarian country where decisions are handed down by the ruling elite and most traditional media is tightly controlled.

Read the complete Washington Post story, "China suspends all new nuclear plants, orders safety review."

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