BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Several plans for the development of China's energy sector and nuclear power safety over the next five years have been passed, according to an official statement released on Wednesday.
The 12th Five-Year Plan on Energy Development (2011-2015) states that China should accelerate the transformation of energy production and utilization patterns and reinforce energy conservation priorities, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council, or China's cabinet, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
The country should raise the efficiency of energy exploitation, conversion and utilization, as well as control total energy consumption and establish a safe, stable, economic and clean modern energy system, the statement said.
China's major tasks in the energy sector include promoting domestic energy exploitation, pushing forward efficient and clean energy conversion, reforming its energy supply pattern and accelerating the construction of energy storage and transportation facilities, according to the statement.
China will also strive to provide equal energy services in urban and rural areas, rationally control total energy consumption, promote reforms in key fields, rationalize energy source pricing mechanisms and encourage private capital to enter the energy sector, it said.
The executive meeting also discussed and passed the Nuclear Power Safety Plan (2011-2020) as well as the Mid- and Long-term Development Plan for Nuclear Power (2011-2020), the statement said.
The State Council has discussed the two plans twice since last March based on comprehensive security inspections of nuclear power units both in operation and under construction, the statement said.
"The State Council is extremely serious and cautious in handling issues concerning safety and development," it said.
In the next few years, China will return to normal nuclear power construction by maintaining a rational construction pace and pushing forward construction in a steady and orderly manner.
The country will also create a scientific layout for nuclear power projects, the statement said.
During the 2011-2015 period, it will not construct any nuclear projects in inland regions, but only construct a few projects in coastal areas that have gone through adequate justification processes.
China will also apply the world's highest safety requirements to new nuclear power projects and adhere to third-generation nuclear safety standards in constructing new projects, the statement said.
"Safety is the lifeline of nuclear power," the statement said.
The country must follow the general requirement of ensuring environmental safety, public health and social harmony in developing nuclear power projects.
"The principle of putting safety first must be implemented throughout the planning, construction, operation, retirement and other related processes," it said.
China should constantly carry out safety upgrades on currently operating reactors and use the most advanced mature technologies, the statement said.
The country will also intensify safety management, step up research and development for safety-related technology and equipment and establish a system of laws and regulations on nuclear power safety standards, as well as enhance its emergency management and response capabilities in case of a nuclear accident, according to the statement.
On Wednesday, China also issued the 2012 edition of its energy policy white paper, elaborating on its energy development policies, energy conservation and the promotion of renewable power sources.
The white paper said the country will develop nuclear power in a safe and highly efficient way in a bid to optimize the nation's energy structure and ensure national energy security.
At present, nuclear power only accounts for 1.8 percent of China's total power output, far below the world average of 14 percent, the paper says.
China's installed nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 40 million kilowatts by 2015, according to the paper.