China’s Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
The State Council Information Office of
the People’s Republic of China
I. Current Situation of Nuclear Energy Development and Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
II. Guidelines and Policies for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
III. All-round Promotion of Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
IV. Building and Maintenance of Nuclear Emergency Capabilities
V. Main Measures to Cope with Nuclear Accidents
VI. Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Exercises, Drills, Training and Public Communication
VII. Scientific and Technological Innovations in Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
VIII. International Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
The discovery of the atom and the subsequent development and utilization of nuclear energy gave a new impetus to the progress of humanity and greatly enhanced mankind’s ability to understand and shape the world. Yet, the development of nuclear energy has associated risks and challenges. For mankind to better utilize nuclear energy and achieve even greater progress, it is necessary to make innovations in nuclear technologies, ensure nuclear safety and do well in nuclear emergency preparedness. While nuclear safety constitutes a lifeline for the sustained and healthy development of nuclear energy, nuclear emergency preparedness serves as an important safeguard for its sustained and healthy development.
Nuclear emergency preparedness denotes the emergency actions taken to control, contain and mitigate a nuclear accident, and to minimize the consequences of such accidents, which are different from the normal order and working procedure. They are emergency response actions guided by the government, assisted by the relevant enterprises, coordinated among all the involved parties and implemented in a unified manner. Nuclear emergency preparedness is of paramount importance and bears on the overall situation, and is therefore of critical significance to the protection of the general public, the environment and social stability as well as safeguarding national security.
China has consistently given top priority to nuclear safety in its peaceful use of nuclear energy, and has persisted in an overall national security concept by advocating a rational, coordinated and balanced nuclear safety outlook. China has followed the approach of enhancing safety for the sake of development and promoting development by upholding safety in an unrelenting effort to bring the dual goals of development and safety in alignment with each other. In the past six decades or so, the Chinese people have been working with stamina and diligence in the pursuit of nuclear energy utilization, with splendid achievements. At the same time, the Chinese people have been sparing no effort to improve nuclear safety techniques, enforce rigorous nuclear safety supervision, strengthen nuclear emergency management and ensure that nuclear energy has always maintained a sound safety record.
Nuclear accidents know no national boundaries, and everything related to nuclear emergency management is too important to be taken lightly. Drawing on the lessons learned from the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents, China has come to a profound understanding of the utmost importance of nuclear emergencies, and the need to continuously strengthen and improve nuclear emergency preparedness and responses with a view to constantly enhancing the nuclear safety safeguard level. China has made great strides in a full range of nuclear emergency-related activities, including the enactment of regulations, codes and standards, the establishment of institutional and regulatory regimes, the building-up of basic capabilities, the fostering of professional personnel, related exercises and drills, public communication, and international cooperation and exchanges. This has not only provided a robust safeguard for China’s own nuclear energy development, but also contributed actively to the promotion of a fair, open, collaborative and mutually beneficial international nuclear safety emergency framework and mankind’s sharing of nuclear energy development achievements.
I. Current Situation of Nuclear Energy Development and Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
It was in the mid-1950s that China embarked on its nuclear industry. Over the past more than six decades China has made constant endeavors in the peaceful use of nuclear energy by promoting the extensive application of nuclear technologies to such areas as industry, agriculture, medicine, the environment and energy. In particular, since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in late 1978 China’s nuclear energy sector has seen particularly rapid development.
The development of nuclear power constitutes an important component of China’s nuclear energy sector. Nuclear power is a clean, efficient and quality modern energy source. China has consistently adhered to the principle of placing equal emphasis on development and safety, and implemented the policy of developing nuclear power in a safe and efficient manner by adopting the most advanced technology and most stringent standards. In March 1985 construction started on the Qinshan Nuclear Power Station, the first of its kind in the mainland of China. As of the end of October 2015, in the mainland of China 27 nuclear generating units had been in operation, with a total installed capacity of 25.50 GWe, and another 25 nuclear generating units with a total installed capacity of 27.51 GWe had been under construction. China has already developed its large-sized advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) and High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights. Construction of the HPR1000 technology pilot project has already commenced. The China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) has achieved full power operation over 72 hours, signifying that China has already mastered the core technology associated with fast reactors.
With the development of the nuclear energy sector, nuclear safety and nuclear emergency work have seen steady synchronous reinforcement. China’s nuclear facilities and nuclear activities have all along been in safe and stable state and, in particular, the safety level of nuclear power stations has witnessed constant improvement. None of the nuclear power generating units in China’s mainland has suffered events or accidents rated above Level 2 under the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), with the release of gaseous and liquid effluents kept far below the national regulatory limits. All of the under-construction nuclear power generating units have intact quality assurance, safety supervision and emergency preparedness systems.
China has always attached great importance to nuclear emergency work by taking a highly responsible attitude toward the safety of the people and society as a whole in enforcing nuclear emergency management. Arrangements have been made for nuclear emergency work in tandem with the decision taken to proceed with nuclear power development. In the wake of the Chernobyl accident, China made it clear that there would be no change in its nuclear power development policy, while stressing that a good job would be done on nuclear emergency preparedness ― with the result that national nuclear emergency work got off the ground in 1986. In 1991 the National Nuclear Accident Emergency Committee was inaugurated and commissioned to make overall planning and coordinate nuclear accident emergency preparations and rescue work nationwide. In 1993 China promulgated the Regulations on Emergency Measures for Nuclear Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants to formalize nuclear emergency by regulatory means. In 1997 the first National Nuclear Emergency Plan (Scenario) was issued to lay out arrangements for nuclear emergency preparations and response in the form of a governmental decision. To cater to the needs of nuclear power development, multiple revisions have since been made to the original Plan and the latest version of National Nuclear Emergency Plan has been enacted. At present, China’s nuclear emergency management and preparations have seen comprehensive upgrades in terms of system, specialization, standards and scientific rigor.
Under China’s medium- and long-term development objectives, by 2020 the in-operation nuclear power installed capacity will reach 58 GWe in the mainland of China plus an additional 30 GWe approximately under construction. By 2030 endeavors will have been made to put into place science and technology R&D systems along with their associated industrial systems representing the global development trends of nuclear power, and to ensure that nuclear power technologies and equipment will take up a substantial share in the international market, thereby meeting the target of building a strong nuclear power country. Faced with the new situation, new challenges and new requirements, China is still confronted with shortfalls in nuclear emergency work in terms of technology, equipment, needed professionals, capacity and standards, which are the same problems encountered by other countries in developing nuclear energy. China will seek to reinforce national nuclear emergency management and raise its nuclear emergency work to a new level through idea innovation, scientific and technological innovation, and management innovation.
II. Guidelines and Policies for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
As a large developing country, China has laid down basic guidelines and policies applicable to nuclear emergency preparedness through enactment of laws, administrative regulations and issuance of government decrees in the course of nuclear energy development.
The basic objectives of nuclear emergency preparedness in China are: scientific coordination according to law, timely and effectively coping with nuclear accidents, maximally controlling/mitigating or eliminating accidents, minimizing human casualties/fatalities and property damages, protecting the public and the environment, maintaining social order and safeguarding the people’s safety and national security.
The basic policy of nuclear emergency management in China is: constant vigilance, versatile compatibility, unified command, active coordination, public safeguard and environmental protection.
― Constant vigilance, versatile compatibility. Nuclear emergency organizations at all levels should stay alert and vigilant at all times in readiness to respond to possible nuclear accidents at any time. A nuclear emergency preparation and response system featuring coordination of dedicated and standby systems, rational deployment of resources, combination of routine exercises and actual emergency response, and integration of civilian and military resources is to be established and perfected. Nuclear emergency work must be planned and deployed in an overall manner together with other activities and implemented compatibly with them.
― Unified command, active coordination. Operators of nuclear installations shall coordinate and direct on-site nuclear accident emergency response actions in a unified manner, and governments at all levels shall coordinate and direct nuclear accident emergency response actions within their respective jurisdictions in a unified manner. Under the unified organization and direction of the government, nuclear emergency organizations, relevant departments, relevant enterprises, professional teams, social organizations and military rescue units shall work in coordination with one another in a joint effort to complete nuclear accident emergency response actions.
― Public safeguard and environmental protection. Public safeguard constitutes the fundamental objective of nuclear emergency preparedness, and it is incumbent upon us to take the attitude and actions that everything is for the people in coping with nuclear accidents. Environmental protection should be viewed as the fundamental requirement of nuclear emergency preparedness in such a way that every effort is made to minimize the release of radioactive substances and do our best to control, mitigate and eliminate damages to the environment.
The basic principles underlying nuclear emergency preparedness in China are: unified leadership, different levels of responsibility, tiered arrangements, coordination between the locality and the military, quick response, and scientific handling.
― Unified leadership, different levels of responsibility. Under the unified leadership of the central government, China has established a nuclear emergency management system featuring assignment of responsibility to different levels. The operator of the relevant nuclear installation is the major body of accountability for on-site emergency work. The people’s government at the provincial level is the major body of accountability for off-site emergency activities in its jurisdiction.
― Tiered arrangements, coordination between the locality and the military. Nuclear emergency involves the central and the local, the military and the government, on-site and off-site, specialized techniques and social administration. Therefore, it is necessary to uphold the principles of uniform deployment and centralized planning, mutual support, mutual coordination, and comprehensive rescue at all times.
― Quick response, scientific handling. When a nuclear accident occurs, all levels of nuclear emergency organizations shall be mobilized at the earliest possible time to rapidly control and mitigate the accident to minimize any impact on the public and the environment. Every effort shall be made to take into account the characteristics and rules applicable to nuclear accidents as the basis for organizing studies and evaluations to enable scientific decision-making, and enforce a full range of response actions in an effective manner, including radiation monitoring, worksite rescue, decontamination and cleansing, radiation protection and medical treatment, and so forth.
III. All-round Promotion of Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
China lays great store by the planning, and legislative/institutional/regulatory systems (known in Chinese as “One Planning plus Three Systems”) associated with nuclear emergency preparedness, and ensures the establishment and full functioning of a national nuclear emergency management system through the safeguards of legislation, institution and regulations.
Strengthening national nuclear emergency planning system building. The National Nuclear Emergency Plan is an action program pre-set by the central government to cope with nuclear accident scenarios. The National Nuclear Emergency Plan lays down a whole set of regulations on the organizational system, command and coordination mechanism, emergency response classification, post-accident restoration actions, and emergency preparation and safeguard measures related to nuclear emergency preparation and response actions. In line with the requirements of the National Nuclear Emergency Plan, governments at all levels and nuclear installation operators must draw up nuclear emergency plans fully in keeping with the National Nuclear Emergency Plan, so as to form a nationwide system of nuclear emergency planning.
Strengthening nuclear emergency legislative system building. China has put in place its own nuclear emergency legal framework, comprising state laws, administrative regulations, departmental rules, national and industrial standards, and management guidelines. As early as August 1993 China put into effect the Regulations on Emergency Management of Nuclear Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants. Since the beginning of this century China has, in succession, enacted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution and Emergency Response Law of the People’s Republic of China, providing regulations and requirements from the legal perspective on nuclear emergency preparedness. In July 2015 the newly revised State Security Law of the People’s Republic of China was promulgated, further reinforcing the nuclear accident emergency system and emergency response capacity building to prevent, control and eliminate damage to the life and health of the general public and ecological environment. In keeping with the foregoing laws and regulations, relevant departments of the government have worked out and put into effect their respective regulations and management guidelines, and relevant institutions and nuclear-related industries have drawn up applicable technical standards. The military also has drawn up relevant regulations, and established systems governing emergency rescue actions associated with nuclear emergency preparedness. Currently efforts are being made to push forward the legislative process associated with the Atomic Energy Law and Nuclear Safety Law.
Strengthening nuclear emergency management system building. China implements a nuclear emergency management system featuring unified leadership at the national level, overall coordination, assignment of responsibilities to different levels and emphasis on localized administration. The nuclear emergency management is led and placed under the responsibility of the department designated by the central government. The governments of the province (autonomous region or centrally administered municipality) wherein nuclear installations are located are responsible for nuclear emergency management within their respective jurisdictions. The operator of the relevant nuclear installation and its senior competent authority (unit) shall be responsible for on-site emergency management. Wherever necessary, the central government will lead, organize and coordinate nuclear emergency management at the national level.
Strengthening nuclear emergency mechanism building. China implements a nuclear emergency organization and coordination mechanism featuring leadership by one department and participation by multiple departments. At the national level, a National Nuclear Accident Emergency Coordination Committee has been set up comprising relevant governmental and military departments with the following main responsibilities: implementing state nuclear emergency work guidelines, drawing up national policies for nuclear emergency management, uniformly coordinating emergency activities at the national level, and deciding, organizing and commanding emergency assistance response actions. A National Nuclear Emergency Office has also been set up to undertake the routine work of the National Nuclear Accident Emergency Coordination Committee. At the provincial (regional and municipal) levels, nuclear emergency coordination bodies have been established, and operators of nuclear installations have set up their respective nuclear emergency bodies. At the national and provincial (regional and municipal) levels and within the operators of the nuclear installations, committees of experts or the support organizations thereof have been established to provide advice and suggestions on nuclear emergency preparedness and response.
IV. Building and Maintenance of Nuclear Emergency Capabilities
Sticking to the guidelines of versatile compatibility, resource integration, interdisciplinary support, and integration of military and civilian capabilities, China builds and maintains national nuclear emergency capabilities commensurate with the safe and efficient development of nuclear energy, and forms a fully-fledged national system of nuclear emergency response capabilities.
At the national level, a unified nuclear emergency response capabilities system is in place to coordinate military and local systems whereby three distinct tiers of capabilities are maintained, viz. national, provincial and nuclear installation operator levels, with a view to pushing forward with the building of various capabilities related to nuclear emergency response.
Building national nuclear emergency response professional technical support centers. China has built eight types of national-level nuclear emergency technical support centers, i.e., radiation monitoring, radiation prevention, aviation monitoring, medical rescue, marine radiation monitoring, meteorological monitoring and forecasting, decision-making aid, and response action, along with three national-level nuclear emergency response training bases, thereby essentially forming an integrated emergency technical support and training system featuring a full array of disciplines and functions, and effective support.
Building national-level nuclear emergency rescue forces. Through efforts over many years, China has already built a specialized nuclear emergency rescue capability system that is of a proper scale, well-coordinated and of a rational layout. To cater to the needs of layout for the construction of nuclear power stations, on the principle of regional deployment, modular set-up and disciplinary integration, over 30 national-level professional rescue teams have been formed to specifically take charge of various kinds of specialized rescue missions. The military constitutes an important part of the national-level nuclear emergency rescue force, and fulfills the mission of aiding local nuclear accident emergency response actions, and, as such, has scored brilliant achievements in building up its nuclear emergency response capabilities. To cope with possible severe nuclear accidents and on the basis of the available capabilities, China is to form a national nuclear emergency rescue team composed of over 300 people to be mainly responsible for undertaking unexpected rescue missions in serious nuclear accident scenarios and emergency treatment tasks, and stand ready to take part in international nuclear emergency rescue operations.
Building provincial-level nuclear emergency rescue forces. Nuclear emergency response forces have been established at the provincial (regional and municipal) levels in areas where nuclear power stations are sited, including nuclear emergency command centers, emergency radiation monitoring networks, medical treatment networks, meteorological monitoring networks, decontamination points, evacuation roads and shelters for evacuees, along with specialized technical support and rescue task forces, thereby basically meeting the nuclear emergency preparedness and response needs of the involved regions. Each provincial (regional and municipal) nuclear emergency command center is connected with the nuclear installation(s) within its jurisdiction.
Building a nuclear emergency response force on the part of the operators of nuclear installations. In accordance with national requirements and following international standards, operators of nuclear installations in China have set up their own nuclear emergency response facilities and forces, including emergency command centers, emergency communication facilities, and emergency monitoring and consequence evaluation facilities. In addition, emergency facilities, equipment and instrumentation, such as emergency power supply, are in place. On-site rescue teams specializing in radiation monitoring, accident control, decontamination and cleansing have been established. Corporations controlling operators of the respective nuclear installations have set up a mutual support collaborative mechanism to form nuclear emergency response resource reserve and deployment assistance capabilities, thereby ensuring mutually complementary support and coordination.
In accordance with the principle of versatile compatibility and based on their respective duties and responsibilities, government departments at different levels in China have established and reinforced their respective capability systems to serve and safeguard nuclear emergency response activities commensurate with the tasks established under the National Nuclear Emergency Plan.
In accordance with the nuclear emergency response plans worked out by the national and provincial (regional and municipal) authorities and the operators of nuclear installations and within the institutional framework of the national nuclear emergency response system, various levels and categories of nuclear emergency response forces ensure unified deployment and interactive mobilization to jointly undertake tasks associated with nuclear accident emergency situations.
V. Main Measures to Cope with Nuclear Accidents
By referring the advanced international standards and drawing on worldwide mature experience, China has defined working measures to control, mitigate and cope with nuclear accidents commensurate with its national conditions and actual situation of nuclear energy development.
Implementing the defense-in-depth concept. Five lines of defense have been set up under which the nuclear emergency preparedness threshold is moved ahead and multiple barriers are installed to strengthen nuclear safety, prevent accidents and mitigate the consequences of an accident. The five lines of defense are: First, the quality of design, manufacturing, construction and operation shall be assured to prevent deviation from normal operation; second, operation procedures and operation technical specifications shall be rigorously followed and observed to ensure that each nuclear generating unit is operated within the defined safety range, any deviations therefrom are detected and corrected in a timely manner, and any abnormal operation is controlled to prevent it from evolving into an accident; third, in case a deviation fails to be corrected in a timely manner, plant safety and protection systems shall be automatically activated upon occurrence of an accident within the design datum, and emergency operations shall be organized to prevent the situation deteriorating; fourth, in case an accident fails to be controlled effectively, accident handling procedures shall be activated with the accident management strategy enforced to ensure that the containment shall remain intact and no radioactive substances are released into the environment; and fifth, in the event of failure of the above-mentioned lines of defense, off-site emergency actions shall be immediately activated in an effort to minimize any impact from the accident on the public or the environment. Meanwhile, multiple physical barriers shall be set up to ensure that multiple lines of defense are in place to prevent and control release of radioactive substances into the environment.
Exercising a tiered response scheme. The level of a nuclear accident shall be determined in accordance with the nature and seriousness of the accident and scope of effect from radiation, based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear emergency preparedness condition is divided into Emergency Standby, Building Emergency, On-Site Emergency and Off-Site Emergency, which respectively correspond to Level IV response, Level III response, Level II response and Level I response. The first three levels of response mainly focus on the organization and implementation of emergency actions within the site. Off-Site Emergency shall be announced with its corresponding Level I response activated upon occurrence of release or possible release of a large quantity of radioactive substances into the environment in which accident consequences have crossed boundaries of the site, with the possibility of seriously jeopardizing public health and environmental safety.
Deploying actions of response. Every level of nuclear emergency organization shall implement the following response actions in whole or in part depending upon the nature and seriousness of the accident:
― Mitigating and controlling the accident in a timely manner. A professional force, equipment and supplies shall be thrown into immediate engineering emergency measures to mitigate and control any accident in an attempt to bring the relevant nuclear installation back to a safe condition while preventing or minimizing the release of radioactive substances into the environment.
― Conducting radiation monitoring and consequence assessment. Radiation monitoring shall be conducted at the site of the accident and areas affected and doses possibly absorbed by personnel shall be measured. Observation/surveillance and forecast on meteorological, hydrological, geological and seismic impacts shall be provided on a real-time basis. The accident conditions shall be diagnosed and substances released shall be analyzed to determine the accident evolution trend, evaluate radiation consequences and define the areas affected.
― Organizing personnel to implement emergency protection actions. If radioactive isotope of iodine has already been released or may be released arising from an accident, a professional team shall organize the public within a given area to take stable iodine pills to minimize radiation exposure to the thyroid gland. The people in the affected area shall be duly organized to take emergency protection measures deemed necessary, including hiding, evacuating, seeking temporary shelter or permanently moving out in order to prevent or minimize injuries from radiation exposure. Psychological assistance shall be provided in a timely manner to minimize social anxiety and panic.
― Arranging decontamination and medical treatment. Professionals shall be dispatched to remove or minimize radioactive pollution affecting people, equipment, premises and the environment. A nuclear emergency preparedness medical rescue force shall be organized to perform medical diagnoses, case identification and medical treatment, including on-site first-aid treatment, local hospital treatment and backup professional treatment.
― Controlling access passages and ports. Zones shall be demarcated according to the areas affected and strict control shall be enforced over the passage of people, vehicles, equipment and supplies in and out of the designated passages. People, vehicles, cargo containers, goods, travelers’ belongings and parcels moving in or out of the border checkpoints shall be screened for radiation detection and control.
― Strengthening market supervision and regulation. Necessities shall be subject to market supervision and regulation in a timely manner in line with the supply of market and the public psych in the areas affected. Manufacturing, processing, circulation and consumption of contaminated food and drinking water shall be banned or limited, so as to prevent or minimize the intake of radioactive substances.
― Maintaining social order. Illegal or criminal acts, such as spreading rumors to create panic, shall be dealt with rigorously. Additional makeshift police posts shall be established to reinforce security patrols in important locations such as settlement sites and storage places for rescue supplies. Security for important premises such as the site of the nuclear accident shall be enhanced, and traffic control in the surrounding areas shall be properly coordinated according to actual needs.
― Releasing accurate official information. Accurate and official information shall be duly published to the public by the central, provincial (regional or municipal) governments and operators of nuclear installations in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) practice, and the laws and regulations of China to ensure that information with respect to nuclear accident status, effects on the public and individual protection measures shall be disclosed to the public in an open, transparent and timely manner.
― Doing well in notifying the international community and requesting for help. Notification shall be given to the international community in accordance with the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident of the IAEA. Request for assistance shall be made to the IAEA and the world community in accordance with the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency of the IAEA, depending upon the actual situation.
Establishing a robust system of technical standards for national nuclear emergency preparedness. A complete system of technical standards for national nuclear emergency preparedness shall be established, and it covers the standards for classification of nuclear power plant emergency planning zones, nuclear accidents and emergency status, implementation of emergency protection actions, and definition of emergency intervention principles and levels of intervention, so as to provide a primary technical guideline for the implementation of nuclear emergency preparedness and response.
Strengthening emergency on-duty system. An emergency on-duty system shall be established to ensure that each level of nuclear emergency organization stays on-duty 24 hours a day. National contact points for nuclear emergency preparedness under the national nuclear accident emergency office shall be on duty for nuclear emergency preparedness to collect information about domestic nuclear installations and keep the IAEA updated.
VI. Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Exercises, Drills, Training and Public Communication
China attaches great importance to nuclear emergency preparedness exercises, drills, training and public communication, and continuous efforts have been made to enhance the capabilities of nuclear emergency preparedness organizations at various levels to cope with nuclear accidents, popularize knowledge of nuclear safety and emergency preparedness, create an environment conducive to facilitating nuclear energy development and build society-wide confidence in the country’s nuclear energy sector.
Organizing nuclear emergency preparedness exercises. The policies and principles, organization, formats, classifications, frequency, safeguard preparation and implementation procedures for China’s nuclear emergency preparedness have been clearly defined in such documents as Regulations on Emergency Measures for Nuclear Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants, Contingency Measures for Unexpected Events, Guideline on Emergency Exercises for Unexpected Events and Regulations on Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Exercises. To cater to the needs of nuclear energy development, national-level nuclear emergency preparedness joint exercises shall be conducted on a regular basis; provincial-level on-site and off-site joint exercises for nuclear emergency preparedness shall be conducted once every two to four years by the relevant provinces (autonomous regions or centrally administered municipalities); operators of nuclear installations shall conduct comprehensive exercises once every two years and special exercises for different purposes every year, with higher frequency for those which have three or more generating units. Prior to the initial fuel loading, an on-site and off-site joint exercise shall be organized by the provincial-level nuclear emergency management organization where the relevant nuclear power plant is located. National-level nuclear emergency joint exercises with the code names “Shendun-2009” and “Shendun-2015” have been conducted and observed by officials and experts from Japan, ROK, France, Pakistan and the IAEA, involving the participation of about 6,000 persons on the two occasions.
Establishing a three-level nuclear emergency preparedness training system. The state nuclear emergency preparedness management organization shall be in charge of training for nation-wide nuclear emergency preparedness management personnel; nuclear emergency preparedness management organizations at the provincial (regional and municipal) level shall be in charge of training for nuclear emergency preparedness personnel within their respective jurisdictions; operators of nuclear installations shall be in charge of providing professional skills training for their own staff in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness. Since the Fukushima accident, China has organized more than 110 training sessions for different levels of nuclear emergency preparedness organizations, attended by a total of 10,000 people. China’s nuclear emergency preparedness management personnel and technical professionals have all attended nuclear emergency preparedness trainings of different levels and disciplines.
Reinforcing public communication and information disclosure about nuclear emergency preparedness. China attaches great importance to public communication and information disclosure regarding nuclear emergency preparedness by developing relevant regulations on the principles of transparency, objectivity, trustworthiness and scientific accuracy. Each level of nuclear emergency preparedness organization has established a special nuclear emergency preparedness publicity team to publicize national policies on nuclear energy, nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness to the public and to enhance transparency of nuclear energy development to ensure the public’s right to supervise nuclear safety and access to information on nuclear emergency preparedness and response. Since 2013 a number of nationwide nuclear emergency preparedness publicity activities with the theme “Joining Efforts to Establish Defense on Nuclear Emergency and for Nuclear Safety, and to Foster the Scientific Development of Nuclear Energy Sector” have been held, arousing extensive attention both at home and abroad. In January 2015 publicity activities targeting domestic and foreign audiences were successively conducted by nuclear-related organizations to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of China’s nuclear industry. In December 2015 the domestic and foreign media were invited to visit Chinese nuclear power enterprises for the well-received campaign “Boosting Nuclear Energy Development for the One Belt and One Road Initiative,” showcasing to Chinese audience the advanced nature of China’s nuclear power technology, the safety and reliability of nuclear power, standardization of nuclear power management and adequacy of nuclear emergency preparedness, producing positive social repercussions. Nuclear-related enterprises, universities and colleges, and relevant organizations have conducted a variety of publicity activities in relation to the popularization of nuclear-related scientific knowledge in a bid to foster an atmosphere conducive to the safe and efficient development of nuclear energy.
As the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SAR) are adjacent to Guangdong Province, the public in Hong Kong and Macao pay close attention to the nuclear energy development in China’s mainland. Since 1992 Guangdong Province and the Hong Kong SAR have reached consensus on a number of issues in relation to nuclear emergency preparedness associated with the Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear power plants in Guangdong. The state nuclear emergency management organ has, on more than one occasion, organized promotional activities in conjunction with Guangdong Province and the Hong Kong SAR to further enrich the contents of their collaborative mechanism on nuclear emergency preparedness, refine the communication platform for nuclear emergency preparedness between Guangdong and Hong Kong, and respond to public concerns in a timely manner to allay any misgivings. The relevant departments of the central government have held special training sessions focusing on various disciplines in conjunction with the departments concerned of Hong Kong and Macao SAR governments with a view to raising the professional level of the local public, therefore contributing positively to maintaining the prosperity and stability of both Hong Kong and Macao.
As the safe use of nuclear energy is a major issue bearing on the safety of both life and property of people across the Taiwan Straits, both sides of the Straits lay great store by it. In October 2011 the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits and Straits Exchange Foundation signed the Cross-straits Nuclear Power Safety Cooperation Agreement. Under the framework of this agreement, a communication mechanism has been put in place between the two sides across the Straits on nuclear emergency matters, and positive achievements have reaped in expanded exchange and cooperation in such areas as regulations and standards concerning nuclear power safety, emergency reporting on nuclear power plant accidents, environmental radiation monitoring for nuclear power plants, and emergency response and preparations for nuclear power plant accidents.
VII. Scientific and Technological Innovations in Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
China has worked out a national plan for nuclear emergency preparedness work, which has clearly defined the targets, mechanism, training of professionals, main tasks and safeguard measures for scientific and technological innovation in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness. New achievements have been made, and some of them have even reached the international advanced level.
Development of nuclear accident consequence evaluation and decision-making support system. By insisting on the combination of technology introduction and self-reliant innovations, China’s relevant universities and R&D institutes have made achievements in such technological areas as accident source term estimation, wind field diagnosis and forecast, airborne radioactive material dispersion, radioactive material dispersion in water bodies, nuclear radiation medicine emergency classification and treatment, radioactive dose estimation, etc., which have provided technical support for the state in decision making related to national nuclear emergency preparedness.
Basic research in nuclear emergency preparedness. Research in nuclear emergency preparedness technologies and management for third and fourth generation of nuclear power technologies, such as HPR1000, AP1000 (US Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor), EPR (European Pressurized Water Reactor), High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors and fast reactors has been carried out. Studies are continuing on important subjects such as simultaneous common-mode failure for multiple units, severe accident source term analysis for inland nuclear power plants, inter-regional nuclear emergency preparedness, nuclear fuel cycle facility emergency preparedness and emergency response to nuclear and radiological terrorist attacks, and some achievements have been made, uplifting as a whole the level of China’s basic technologies concerning nuclear emergency preparedness.
Research and development of nuclear emergency special equipment. Priority is given to the R&D (research and development) and SI (system integration) of equipment for nuclear emergency radiation monitoring, radiation protection, medical treatment and decontamination. Independently developed equipment includes vehicle (vessel)-mounted detection equipment, aviation radiation monitoring system, radiation monitoring and accident response robots and vehicle (vessel)-mounted nuclear emergency command system, and nuclear emergency medical assorting and monitoring platform and medical support system. Each level of nuclear emergency rescue team is equipped with such equipment and systems. All gate-frame walk-through radiation detectors used by China Customs are developed by domestic enterprises.
Research in nuclear emergency preparedness information technology. Studies on the standardization of nuclear emergency preparedness data collection and transfer have been conducted, and a nationwide nuclear emergency preparedness resources management system has been established and efforts are constantly made to improve it. Development of a nuclear emergency preparedness information system, innovative modularization of nuclear emergency preparedness plan, automation of response process, visualization of organization and command and auxiliary scientific decision-making have led to the integration of routine management with emergency response, which has also helped enhance nuclear emergency preparedness response capabilities and organizational efficiency.
Research in nuclear emergency preparedness medical treatment technology. Research on the technology of diagnosis and treatment for acute radiation injuries has been carried out, and guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and rescue for acute radiation injuries have been developed. Key technical and promotional application research in unexpected nuclear radiation events has resulted in the development of methods for rapid biological dose assessment for nuclear radiation accidents applicable for the general public, which has helped optimize non-myeloablative stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) combined transplantation treatment for severe and extremely severe bone marrow acute radiation patients. A number of breakthroughs in the treatment of radiation diseases have been achieved, leading to a reduction of casualties of nuclear radiation accidents to the maximum extent. With primary and clinical research on the treatment of radiation injuries by use of mesenchymal stem cells, a new therapy using transplantation of combined MSC and hematopoietic stem cells for severe radiation sickness has been created. The research achievement “Establishment and Application to Treat Radiation Diseases by Using Somatic Stem Cells” won a first prize for national science and technology improvement. A “three-level handling and four-level treatment” systemized nuclear emergency medical rescue capabilities development model has been developed by China’s military medical research organizations.
Research in public risk communication and psychological assistance. Research in mass psychological assistance techniques under circumstances of unexpected event (accident) has been conducted, and relevant psychological intervention models have been established, and countermeasures, criteria and implementation guidelines have been proposed. In view of the characteristics of nuclear radiation, Q&A publications in relation to nuclear accident protection and applied books on medical countermeasures in case of nuclear and radiological accidents geared toward the public have been compiled.
Innovative research in nuclear emergency environmental meteorology. A numerical prediction system of China’s meteorological environmental emergency response is being developed and improved. Following the upgrading of the meteorological service system for nuclear and hazardous chemicals leakage and improvement of atmospheric dispersion modeling by way of technology import and self-reliant R&D, the global mode resolution has been enhanced to 30km from about 85km, and medium-scale model resolution has been enhanced to 10km from 15km, realizing a more detailed and precise simulation and prediction of pollutant dispersion.
VIII. International Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
As a member state of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), China has always been, along with the other members, dedicated to promoting the development of an international nuclear safety emergency system and the sharing of achievements resulting from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and unswervingly supports and facilitates international cooperation and exchange in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness. China has launched multi-level and all-round cooperation in respect of nuclear emergency preparedness with international organizations, including the IAEA, and is stepping up collaboration and exchange in the field of nuclear emergencies with relevant countries.
Actively acceding to relevant international conventions. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA, China lays great store by integrating itself into the international nuclear safety emergency system. Since joining the IAEA in 1984, China has acceded to a number of international conventions, including the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Convention on Nuclear Safety, and International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Under these conventions, China has always been committed to playing a constructive role in promoting the establishment of a peaceful, cooperative and mutually beneficial international nuclear safety emergency system in tandem with other countries.
Actively fulfilling international obligations regarding nuclear emergency preparedness. China supports the IAEA’s leading role in the fields of promoting nuclear energy and nuclear technology applications, strengthening nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness, and implementing safeguard supervision. China actively undertakes the international obligations set out in the relevant international conventions, and responds to each initiative put forward by the Board of Governors and General Conference of the IAEA. Chinese delegations have attended all conferences on nuclear emergency preparedness and nuclear safety convention obligation compliance organized by the IAEA, and submitted national reports on nuclear emergency preparedness and compliance with nuclear safety obligations, taking a responsible attitude. China has also, on numerous occasions, participated in exercises sponsored by the IAEA within the framework of the conventions. In addition, China has made contributions in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness to the whole world by recommending hundreds of Chinese experts and scholars in this field to participate in the work of the IAEA. In May 2014 China joined the International Nuclear Emergency Response and Assistance Network ― an act of support for the construction of the international nuclear emergency preparedness network.
Actively conducting bilateral exchanges. Since 1984, China has successively entered into bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation with 30 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, the UK, the US, ROK, Russia and France, and conducted cooperation and exchange which include nuclear emergency preparedness. China and the US have cooperated on the construction of the Center of Nuclear Security Excellence in China as a forum for technical exchange on nuclear security within the region and the rest of the world. Under the framework of the Sino-US agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the US Department of Energy have jointly upheld a number of training activities, including a nuclear emergency medical rescue training program and a nuclear emergency consequence evaluation workshop. The Sino-Russian Sub-commission for Nuclear Issues was established within the framework of the Sino-Russian Prime Ministerial Regular Meeting, by which both sides conduct exchanges and cooperation in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness on a regular basis. Furthermore, China has been involved in relevant activities on a regular basis with France and ROK, establishing the Sino-French Commission on Nuclear Energy Cooperation and Coordination with France and Sino-Korean Joint Commission on Nuclear Energy Cooperation with ROK, respectively. In addition to assisting Pakistan in building nuclear power stations, China has conducted extensive cooperation and exchanges with that country in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness.
Actively expanding multilateral cooperation. China conducts cooperation and exchange with other countries in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness, pursuing results that are beneficial to all involved. Chinese heads of state have appealed to the world community to strengthen nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness management, enhance nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness capabilities and boost the confidence of all peoples in achieving permanent nuclear security and the goal of nuclear energy benefiting mankind, at the 2010 Washington Nuclear Security Summit, 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit and 2014 Hague Nuclear Security Summit. The CAEA and IAEA have organized various forms of exchanges and cooperation, including “Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response under Circumstances of Severe Nuclear Accidents” training sessions for the Asia-Pacific Region held in July 2014 in China’s Fujian, which served as a platform for exchanges among experts from 11 countries and regions. In October 2015 China shared its achievements in nuclear emergency preparedness and response with around 90 participating countries and a dozen international organizations, and briefed them China’s policies concerning nuclear emergency preparedness at the First International Conference on Global Nuclear Emergency Preparation and Response. China plays an active role in regional exchange and cooperation through such mechanisms as the Asian Nuclear Safety Network (ANSN), Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia and Cooperation Agreement on Nuclear Technology in the Asia-Pacific Region. In January 2004 China officially joined the Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network of the World Health Organization (REMPAN). China itself has successively upheld international academic exchange activities in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness. China, Japan and ROK have established a framework of early notification of nuclear accidents and a mechanism of expert exchange for cooperation and exchange in the relevant fields on a regular basis.
Actively carrying out cooperation and exchange in response to the Fukushima nuclear accident. As a close neighbor of Japan, China was especially concerned about the Fukushima nuclear accident. It immediately activated its nuclear emergency preparedness and response mechanism and countermeasures, while expressing willingness to the Japanese government to offer radiation monitoring and medical aid by fulfilling its international obligations under the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. In May 2011, at the invitation of the Japanese government, China organized a delegation of experts to visit Japan to conduct focused exchanges with their Japanese counterparts on the Fukushima nuclear accident, and put forward suggestions for the handling of it. Furthermore, China dispatched senior experts to join the IAEA’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Assessment Team to evaluate the impact from the Fukushima accident. In the past four years or so since the Fukushima nuclear accident, Chinese government organs, enterprises and institutions, colleges and universities and R&D institutes have conducted various forms of collaboration with international organizations in summing up and discussing important issues in relation to post-Fukushima nuclear emergency preparedness. These activities not only have helped China improve its nuclear emergency work, but also have helped the international community in accessing experience feedback from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Actively responding to the IAEA’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. The IAEA published the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident to serve as reference for all countries in improving their respective nuclear emergency work. Consulting the new criteria and concepts, China has comprehensively improved its nuclear emergency preparation and response mechanism by enhancing supervision and technical support for national nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness, conducting inspections on nuclear emergency work of all operators of nuclear installations, perfecting emergency measures in accordance with the new criteria and strengthening top-tier design and planning to establish a robust nuclear emergency preparedness capabilities system. China is endeavoring to upgrade its nuclear emergency work to a new level by persisting in using state-of-the-art technology, upholding the most rigorous criteria and enforcing nuclear emergency management in a comprehensive manner.
China will continue to press forward with the development of nuclear energy as an important strategic choice for promoting economic and social development in line with the ideas of innovation, coordination, greening, openness and shared development. As long as China continues to develop nuclear energy, it will never relent in its efforts to further strengthen its nuclear emergency preparedness. China will spare no effort to improve this work on a continuing basis to provide a robust bulwark in support of the safe, efficient, sustainable and healthy development of the nuclear energy sector.
In future, while adhering to the concept of overall national security and the nuclear safety concept of rational, coordinated and tandem development, China will take multiple and comprehensive measures to enhance its nuclear safety emergency capabilities and ensure its nuclear emergency preparedness at all times. China will continue to place equal emphasis on development and safety, and develop nuclear energy on the premise of safety, strengthen coordinated improvement in nuclear emergency preparedness and nuclear energy development to ensure that each and every action item of nuclear emergency preparedness is fully implemented. China will persist in matching capacity to demand, meet the requirements of nuclear energy development in terms of situation and tasks, continuously enhance its national nuclear emergency capabilities, and ensure that its nuclear emergency response is timely and effective. Meanwhile, China will persist in domestic and international exchange by continuing to deepen international cooperation in respect of nuclear emergency preparedness to promote the establishment of an international nuclear safety emergency preparedness system with an eye to the future, and share with the international community its achievements in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. China will persist in giving equal attention to present and long-term development, keep in perspective the megatrends of nuclear energy development at home and abroad, plan nuclear emergency preparedness in a forward-looking manner, and ensure that efforts in respect of planning, preparation and prevention are made in advance so that we can always take the initiative in case of any emergencies.
China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, nor can the world enjoy prosperity without China. China will take an active part in constructing an international nuclear safety emergency system, and join hands with the nations of the rest of the world to tackle the important issues facing nuclear emergency preparedness. China has the confidence and ability to enhance its nuclear emergency preparedness and responses to realize permanent nuclear safety and achieve the goal of nuclear energy benefiting mankind.
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