25 May 2017
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  • » 07/08/2008, 00.00


    Radioactive waste in earthquake zone, Chinese censorship suppresses the news

    The earthquake last May 12 in Sichuan damaged the most important Chinese nuclear dump, but the authorities continue to conceal the true extent of the incident. Local sources affirm that the site is still contained, but there are fears of risks to the environment.

    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two months after the earthquake that shook Sichuan, the most important radioactive dump in southwest China is still closed, while government authorities refuse to provide details on the true damage to the site and on possible leaks of hazardous material.

    Li Ganjie, deputy minister for environmental protection, does not conceal the possible risks connected to the leak of radioactive material, but the authorities continue to maintain absolute silence over the event. Like all Chinese military units, factory 821 in Sandui, a city in the prefecture of Guangyuan, is identified by a numeric code. The plant suffered serious damage in the earthquake; witnesses recount the frantic operations in the surrounding area, and even the deputy general manager of the China National Nuclear Corporation (which controls the civilian nuclear development programme in the country) travelled from Beijing to Sichuan to review the situation in person.

    A spokesman for the company continues to repeat that "everything is under control, and there is no danger", but some witnesses involved in the emergency operations tell a completely different story. "The factory is still paralysed. Many buildings have collapsed. Some people have died. Beyond that, I am not allowed to reveal anything because it involves national military secrets".

    Li Ganjie stresses that careful controls for the nuclear sites in the areas struck by the earthquake have been provided, but he does not conceal "worries" over "the safety of the facilities and the disposal of radioactive waste". Many of the facilities were built before 1980, and do not comply with the current antiseismic standards. The plant in Sandui was built in the late 1960's, and employs more than 600 engineers and 4,000 workers. Since 2005, it has been the most important nuclear waste dump in the country, and one of the main centres for the waste from Chinese nuclear experiments.

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    See also

    17/07/2007 JAPAN
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    26/08/2013 JAPAN
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    31/05/2008 CHINA
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    07/12/2016 13:23:00 JAPAN
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    Over the past five and a half years, the Fukushima fisheries experimental station analysed fish and shellfish samples. For the first time in years, radioactive cesium levels are within the safety limit.

    Editor's choices

    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan

    During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.

    May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


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