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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
China lifts nuclear power target
By Louisa Lim
BBC News, Beijing

Chinese eat lunch at a food stall below power lines in Beijing Monday March 21, 2005
The pressure on China's power resources is currently intense
China has announced it will build 40 new nuclear reactors within the next 15 years, a big increase on earlier plans. The move is intended to boost electricity capacity as the country's economic boom has caused serious power shortages.

China is likely to be the world's biggest developer of nuclear power stations.

This could spark intense competition from foreign makers of nuclear power equipment.

Supplying power for its people is one of China's major challenges. Now it is shifting its strategy to build more nuclear power stations.

Officials say nuclear power stations will even be the main energy suppliers along the booming eastern coastline.

Nuclear power is being promoted as a clean and green source of energy.

But it is also a tacit acknowledgement that the country is too dependent on coal, which provides two-thirds of China's energy but causes serious air pollution.

The power crisis has put pressure on coal mines to raise production, leading to a series of fatal accidents.

China's expansion of its nuclear power sector is attracting frenzied competition from foreign companies.

At present no nuclear plants are planned in the US, and in western Europe only Finland and France are building new reactors, so China offers prospects of growth unparalleled anywhere else.

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