GUANGZHOU, July 13 (Xinhua) -- A planned nuclear fuel processing project in south China's Guangdong Province has been canceled following local residents' opposition, local authorities said Saturday.
The planned Longwan Industrial Park project, located in Zhishan Township in the city of Heshan, has been canceled, according to the municipal government of Jiangmen, which administers Heshan, and sources from the China National Nuclear Corporation, builder of the project.
Many local residents expressed opposition to the project after it was made public by the Heshan government on July 4, said Wu Yuxiong, mayor of Heshan.
"The Heshan government respects the public's opinion and will not apply for approval for the project," Wu said.
The public's opposition was mainly due to safety worries and environmental concerns.
The planned industrial park, with a designed capacity of 1,000 tonnes of uranium in 2020, will feature facilities for uranium conversion, enrichment and manufacturing of nuclear fuel equipment, involving a total investment of 37 billion yuan (6 bln U.S. dollars).
Most of China's nuclear fuel processing plants are currently based in west China, while China's nuclear power plants are mainly based in the eastern coastal region. The cost and inefficiency of long-distance transportation of the fuel prompted the Longwan Industrial Park project, industry insiders said.
There is a relatively greater number of nuclear power plants near Heshan, which therefore has more demand for nuclear fuel. The geological conditions in Heshan are also stable, said Chi Xuefeng, a nuclear expert.
The nuclear fuel will not produce much radiation and the manufacturing process will not create pollution, said Zhao Yamin, a researcher with the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China is working on forming a complete industrial nuclear power system. It has the greatest nuclear power capacity under construction of any country in the world.
According to a government white paper on energy released in October 2012, China has 15 nuclear power-generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 gigawatts (GW), as well as 30 units currently under construction that will add another 32.81 GW.