Nuclear power projects in inland regions may get more attention during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), energy officials said on Monday.
Zhang Huazhu, director-general of the China Nuclear Energy Association, said the biggest hurdle for the development of inland nuclear plants is not technical issues, since the nation's energy administration is speeding up efforts to study the environmental impact and safety for people.
"Currently the problem is how to increase public awareness on nuclear safety. We need to be more transparent in monitoring nuclear power plants and gauge perceptions from the public," he told a news conference in Beijing.
He said that about 60 percent of the nuclear power plants in the United States are located in inland regions, while inland nuclear projects account for about 67 percent of the total in France.
China suspended its huge nuclear power program after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Though the ban on construction of coastal nuclear plants has been more or less lifted, some inland nuclear projects in China are still in a limbo.
Zhang said that all the locations for inland nuclear projects in China have been carefully selected after taking into account the water situation.
Major inland power plants have been planned in provinces such as Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan, where there is great demand for energy.
Zhang, the former chief of the China Atomic Energy Authority, said that China is likely to approve two or three new nuclear projects this year.
The next candidates, however, are likely to be the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the Tianwan nuclear power plant and the Shidao Bay nuclear power plant in Shandong province, said industry sources.