The authorities announced that the financed by China and the United States nuclear security center, which is the largest in the Asia- Pacific region, started operating on Friday in Beijing.
China and the US opened a joint nuclear safety center in Beijing, which according to the CAEA is intended to offer training on the safe handling of nuclear materials and the prevention of terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities.
The opening ceremony, held on Friday was attended by the US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the head of China’s nuclear agency, Xu Dazhe.
Moriz praised the cooperation between the two countries and emphasized on the importance of this step for further actions in the developing of the nuclear safety. In his speech, he also raised concerns about China’s plans to process nuclear waste into plutonium that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
“China is taking very very strong steps and this center of excellence is in some sense the exclamation point to show that commitment,” Moniz said.
“With regard to plutonium recycling well we’ve expressed our concern globally in terms of separating plutonium and we question the economics quite frankly, but what we think is very important that when countries are doing this and again we’ve expressed this in terms of other countries is that it’s very important that build-up of separated plutonium is not part of the process.”
The center itself is constructed by the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the US Department of Energy. It has the capacity to train nearly 2,000 nucler safety staff from China and other Asia-Pasific nations each year.
The construction of the center began in 2013 and so far is the largest nuclear program to receive fuding from both China and the United States. The project is also expected to have good impact on the cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, and to promote peaceful use of nuclear power.
The project was developed at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010 at which China and the US agreed to establish this center. Under their agreement, the center will be administered by the Chinese government and the United States will be responsible for the nuclear-security delivery.
China’s Atomic energy authority chief Xu said in his speech that the center showed China’s commitment to furthering nuclear safety and represents the progress in China’s nuclear safety technology levels.
Moniz told the Associated Press news service that he would like to see China play a bigger role in regional and world nuclear security.
The Chinese mainland has 30 operational nuclear power generating units, with a total installed capacity of 28.31 GW. It also has 24 units with a total installed capacity of 26.72 GW under construction, ranking first in the world.
As planned, the nation’s installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 GW with an additional 30 GW under construction by 2020.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, and U.S. President Barack Obama are set to meet in Washington this month for a summit on nuclear security.