“Extremely low” levels of radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant have spread to most Chinese provinces but remain far too low to be a health risk, Agence France-Presse quoted China’s government as saying. The government banned imports of several food products from Japan and stepped up radiation checks at airports, seaports and other travel hubs.
China’s climate-change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said rapid construction plans for nuclear generators will be affected by the crisis in Japan, but atomic power will still be an essential future energy source, the Associated Press reported. Xie said locations of proposed nuclear plants, safety standards and other aspects were all under review “to ensure 100% safety”.
After 11 months of drilling at the Weiyuan formation in the Sichuan Basin, China completed its first horizontal shale-gas well, Bloomberg News said. The country seeks to tap its reserves of the cleaner-burning fuel, and may hold as much as 380 trillion cubic metres of “unconventional” gas, according to China National Petroleum Corporation.
The largest solar power plant in Tibet will become operational in May to help ease the region’s power shortages, Xinhua reported. Sited near the city of Xigaze, the 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic generation project could provide electricity for more than 100,000 farming and herding families in its first phase alone, a project official said.
To stimulate clean-energy investment, China plans to raise the price of power generated from renewable sources over the next two years, Reuters quoted the country’s electricity regulator as saying. China’s renewable energy law obliges grid firms to buy all the renewable electricity produced in their region, even though it is more expensive than coal-fired power, but it also allows them to charge “additional” fees for clean-electricity sources.
At least 2,000 villagers protesting construction of a hydroelectric dam on the upper Yangtze clashed with police in Suijiang county, Yunnan province, Agence France-Presse reported. Green groups have long opposed the Xiangjiaba dam, one of four being built along the upper reaches of the river.
China’s programme to reduce pollution between 2011 and 2015 will include emission targets for rural areas, according to Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection. Xinhua quoted Li as saying it was “high time” that China addressed pollution from agricultural sources.
The government has made lead-battery factories the top priority in its campaign to rectify the country’s heavy-metal pollution, china.org said. Meanwhile, Xinhua reported, the manager of a storage-battery plant in Zhejiang province faces environmental pollution charges following incidents in which untreated industrial emissions poisoned 168 villagers.
As low-carbon and green concepts become more popular, more Chinese are opting for environment-friendly ways to pay tribute to their ancestors and deceased loved ones, Xinhua reported. Rather than burning fake paper money, which is seen as contributing to pollution, more people are presenting flowers – including silk ones – on Tomb-Sweeping Day, which falls on April 5 this year.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE
Lack of reforms to China's grid and electricity market means that wind is unlikely to shift much larger amounts of polluting coal from the energy mix