Author: Reuters, Beijing

  • More than 10,000 feared lost in Japanese earthquake, damaged reactors hold lessons for China

    China must learn lessons from Japan’s nuclear power crisis and ensure its own nuclear power sector develops safely, a top Chinese energy official said, as the country rushes to add new reactors to cut reliance on carbon-intensive coal. Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was rocked by an explosion on Saturday after Friday’s massive earthquake forced reactors to shut down. A new explosion hit the plant on Monday, sending a plume of smoke into the air and Japan’s nuclear safety agency said it could not confirm whether or not the explosion had led to an uncontrolled leak of radioactivity. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC), the country’s two nuclear power plant operators, have said all their plants were not affected by the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

  • China to control rare earth extraction and pollution

    China will step up its controls over the mining of rare earths and release new industry standards to cut pollution, a minister and media said on Friday, after the world’s biggest supplier cut export quotas for the minerals. China, which produces about 97 percent of the global supply of the vital metals, slashed its export quota by 35 percent for the first half of 2011 compared with a year earlier, saying it wanted to conserve reserves and protect the environment. China will “strengthen the supervision and management of mineral resources mining … and deepen control over rare earth mining capacity and extraction,” Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi said on a webcast on the ministry’s website ( He did not elaborate.

  • China to spend $30 billion on water conservation in 2011

    The Chinese government is expected to spend about 200 billion yuan ($30.10 billion) on water conservation projects in 2011, a tenth more than in 2010, the state-run China Daily reported on Saturday. Priority will be given to improving irrigation to ensure grain security and projects to combat drought and floods, the newspaper said. It cited Water Resources Minister Chen Lei as telling a government meeting that some of the investment would come from a 10 percent levy on income earned from the leasing of land. The newspaper did not elaborate. Other funds would go toward renovating water supply infrastructure for main agriculture regions and ensuring safe drinking water for 60 million rural people, the newspaper added.

  • China considering pollution rules for rare earth production

    China’s industry ministry is considering regulations to tighten pollution standards for rare earth producers, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, a move the country’s top firm said might further raise export prices. Yang Wanxi, a government adviser involved in preparing the new regulations, said a draft had been filed with the Ministry of Industry and Information, aiming to force producers to upgrade production techniques, Xinhua said. China, which accounts for 97 percent of global output of the elements used in high-tech devices, wind mills, batteries and some weaponry, strictly controls their trade and this year reduced export quotas by 40 percent from 2009 levels, triggering a spike in prices.

  • China says rich-poor divide still dogs climate pact talks

    The prospects of a new global climate change pact still hinge on resolving the divisions between rich nations and the developing world, a top Chinese climate negotiator said in remarks published on Monday. “Right now there are still huge differences between developed and developing countries in the negotiations on climate change problems,” said Su Wei, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission.