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Statement by Dr. Zhao Xinli, Counselor in Charge of Scientific and Technological Affairs of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations at the Fourth Committee of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly on Agenda Item 49: "The Effects of Atomic Radiation"

2013/10/26
 

         Mr. Chairman,

         The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for his work and contribution in the field of effects of atomic radiation.During the 66th session of the General Assembly, the Chinese delegation, together with other delegations, actively facilitated the endorsement of Ukraine, Pakistan, Belarus, Spain, Republic of Korea and Finland as members of the Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). Over the past two years, the old and new members made concerted efforts to ensure the smooth functioning of the Committee. The Chinese delegation expresses its satisfaction with the work of the Committee, supports the report of the Committee to the current session, and commends the UNSCEAR Secretariat for its efforts.GA Resolution 66/70 adopted the wording proposed by China of “Recognizing the importance of disseminating results from the work of the Scientific Committee and widely publicizing scientific knowledge about atomic radiation”. The Chinese delegation is pleased to see that the international community is starting to pay attention to disseminating results from the work of the Scientific Committee and popularizing the knowledge of atomic radiation.

         Mr. Chairman,

        Human society’s need for energy keeps increasing and many countries are confronted with the problems of insufficient energy resources and pollution associated with energy production and use. As an energy resource characterized by stable output, high efficiency, high cost-effectiveness and minimum emission of greenhouse gas and other pollutants, safe and reliable nuclear energy is and will remain for a long time to come a clean energy that merits vigorous development and utilization by mankind. In addition, because of its unique nature, atomic radiation technology has seen wider, deeper and more frequent applications in numerous non-nuclear fields such as health care, industrial surveying, agricultural breeding, food preservation, and technological R&D. At the same time, people are exposed to atomic radiation more often and for longer periods with or without their knowledge. The international community should enhance research in the effects of atomic radiation to leverage science to protect mankind from the harm of radiation, while making full use of atomic radiation technology for the benefit of mankind.  Mr. Chairman,The regrettable and deplorable Fukushima nuclear incident should prompt us to engage in serious reflection and careful investigation and research, with a view to finding more effective preventive measures through comprehensive, in-depth and systematic consideration, so as to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents. To date, derivative incidents still break up now and then at the site of Fukushima nuclear incident, arousing worries of the whole world, especially the people of neighboring countries. The country concerned should genuinely fulfill its responsibilities, adopt timely and effective measures to deal with the aftermath of the incident and ensure the transparency and credibility of relevant information, so that the international community, particularly the people of various countries, can be assured.On the other hand, data show that occupational radioactive intake and non occupational radioactive intake in some circles resulting from naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), including those concentrated or exposed by industrial activities, and radioactive building materials may well exceed the international safety standards. UNSCEAR should pay attention to this issue. The international community should also publicize and disseminate relevant radiation prevention knowledge in a timely and effective manner and adopt effective measures. Mr. Chairman,In the face of the challenges posed by atomic radiation, the UN should play its role in ensuring the safety of atomic radiation. I suggest that we proceed from the following four areas:First, properly handle the aftermath of major nuclear incidents and summarize the lessons learned. In light of the harmful effects of major nuclear incidents on human physiology and psychology, the efforts of the international community should be integrated to assess the harm done and sum up lessons to be learned for future prevention. The country concerned should deem human safety the number one issue, take an open and transparent approach in working with relevant UN agencies and countries that are able and willing to help, so that concerted efforts can be made to handle the aftermath of the incident and minimize various harmful effects. Second, further strengthen the work of UNSCEAR. The Scientific Committee is experiencing an increasing workload, an expanding membership by the year, and a widening scope of work. The international community is also raising its expectations for the Committee’s work. The Committee should further explore high efficiency mechanisms to yield more high quality output. All parties should work together to support the Committee.Third, carry out research of effects of atomic radiation from sources other than nuclear accidents. There is an abundance of risks of harmful effects of atomic radiation from sources other than nuclear accidents. Some of the risks we are currently totally unaware of; some others with harmful effects we do not yet fully grasp and for which we do not have effective preventive measures; still others arise from the failure to strictly comply with safety regulations. The international community should prioritize relevant research in light of the seriousness of various harmful effects, formulate corresponding regulations and ensure their enforcement. Fourth, ensure the safety of temporarily suspended and decommissioned nuclear power plants. Due to various reasons, temporary suspension of nuclear power plants happens quite often. With the passage of time and advance of technology, more and more nuclear power plants will be decommissioned. The international community should work together to standardize the effective measures required for the safety of those nuclear power plants. Countries concerned should be responsible, ensure compliance with relevant safety regulations, and make sure that the safety of such nuclear plants will not be compromised because of budget and personnel reasons.

        Mr. Chairman,Over the past year, China continued to work diligently on the safety of atomic radiation, and made new progress in nuclear energy R&D and application. In June 2013, my government promulgated the revised National Nuclear Contingency Plan, and using the promulgation as an opportunity, China conducted in early July a week-long country wide publicity campaign on nuclear contingency. China’s nuclear power technology R&D and application have reached the world’s top level. The 3rd generation nuclear power technology with an installed capacity of 1.4 million kilowatts of which China owns intellectual property rights, namely, the advanced passive nuclear power technology CAP1400, has completed the preliminary design phase and passed expert evaluation and assessment. It will start its construction phase in 2014, and generate power into the grid by the end of 2018. The safety and economy of this type of power plant are clearly superior to most nuclear power plants currently in use around the world. The demonstration project of the 4th generation nuclear power technology, the air cooled high temperature reactor which boasts even better safety and economy and which is developed by China on its own is already under construction. It will probably enter into commercial operation as the first 4th generation nuclear power plant in the world. Mr. Chairman,After decades of efforts, China has become a major power in atomic radiation technology. China has in place a whole set of mature and effective research, development, design, construction, operation and regulation mechanisms. China also has skilled personnel, technology, equipment, institutions, laws and regulations in the area of nuclear contingency. Together with the international community, China is ready to continue to work under the principles of “peace, development, cooperation and win-win results” to protect mankind from the harmful effects of atomic radiation and harness the atomic radiation technology for the benefit of mankind.

        Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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