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22 Dec, 2007 15:28

Russian-Chinese nuclear station safest in the world: IAEA

The first-ever nuclear power station jointly built by Russia and China has officially been opened. China's Deputy Prime Minister attended the ceremony to mark the event. More than 150 Russian companies have been involved in building the plant in Jiangsu.

After almost eight years of construction, the Tianwan nuclear power plant in the south-eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu started work in May 2007.

It is the first collaborative project of its kind between China and Russia. The Chinese built the facility, while over 150 Russian companies provided the technology.

It is equipped with two new-generation Russian-built VVER-1000 nuclear reactors, capable of producing 1000 megawatts of energy each, and able to supply the entire Jiangsu province with electricity.

Experts say the station is a world leader.

“The station has four levels of security. There's a double asbestos cluster, which blocks any kind of emissions. Also there's a revolutionary security improvement called the trap, which prevents any leakage of nuclear fuel in the event of a breakdown,” Alexandr Selikhov, Head of Atomstroyexport's delegation to China, said. 
Engineers here claim that even if a twenty-tonne aeroplane crashed into the facility, the reactor would stay unharmed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently described this plant as the world's safest.

As part of the deal, 60 Russian specialists are stationed there to monitor the plant. They say everything is running smoothly now and they have found a common language with the Chinese, though the first stages were troublesome and there were serious doubts about the proposed site.

“We had some difficulties. The station is tucked in between the mountains and the sea. So we had to make sure nothing happens to the reactor core should any kind of disaster happen. But thanks to long months of research, we managed to achieve this result – the result of an improved partnership between China and Russia,”  said Zhen Pai Yan, Chinese Vice Prime Minister.  
It's also a case where both sides benefit. The Chinese get the electricity and the technology, while the Russians, apart from financial profit, can improve on what they've already produced.
“We designed a new reactor based on this one in China. It creates even more power, is more efficient and has the same level of security. Now it is being built in several Russian cities,”  said Vladislav Asmolov, Deputy General Director of Rosenergoatom,    
Atomstroyexport company calls this plant a sign of the resurrection of the Russian nuclear industry, as they're expecting to sign a contract to build two more reactors in China and several more worldwide including India, Iran and Bulgaria.