China scraps uranium plant after protest

Government cancels $6bn uranium processing project in Heshan after hundreds take to streets over environmental concerns.

    The Saturday decision came after hundreds of protesters paraded through the streets [Reuters]
    The Saturday decision came after hundreds of protesters paraded through the streets [Reuters]

    China has cancelled plans to build its largest uranium processing plant in a southern city of Heshan, a day after hundreds of protesters took to the streets demanding the project be scrapped, a local government website has said.

    "The people's government of the city of Heshan has decided to respect the public opinion and will not consider China National Nuclear Corporation's (CNNC) industrial park project,'' read the online announcement published on the Heshan city government's website on Saturday.

    State-run CNNC and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) had planned to build the 37 billion yuan ($6bn) project.

    The planned conversion and enrichment plant had been meant to supply fuel for China's expanding nuclear power capacity, likely to reach 60-70 gigawatts by 2020 from the current 12.6 GW.

    The proposed 230-hectare complex in the heart of China's Pearl River delta industrial heartland in Guangdong province had also sparked unease in neighbouring Hong Kong and Macau.

    Protests against the project

    The Saturday decision came after hundreds of protesters paraded through the streets, holding banners and wearing T-shirts with phrases opposing the project while chanting slogans.

    "Give us back our rural homes. We are against nuclear radiation,'' they shouted in scenes seen in television video.

    Environmentalists in China have long called on local governments to take steps allowing for greater transparency and better public involvement when introducing projects that may be environmentally risky.

    Chinese authorities are becoming increasingly sensitive to local protests over environmental issues, having cancelled, postponed or relocated several major petrochemical and metals plants.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.