China's plans to construct new nuclear power plants will not be affected by the Soviet nuclear accident, according to today's overseas edition of the leading Communist Party newspaper People's Daily.
A spokesman for the nuclear power ministry also told Agence France-Presse that China is going ahead with preparations for its nuclear experts to visit nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union.
No date has been set for the trip, but western diplomats said they doubted that China soon would buy Soviet nuclear equipment or technology.
Today's article in People's Daily quoted Jiang Shengjie, chief of the Bureau for Nuclear Safety, as saying it has established a special group to do research on the Soviet accident. He was also quoted as saying China puts quality and safety first in the construction of nuclear plants.
The Chinese have had difficulty achieving high quality in many of their industries, but Jiang said that in the nuclear industry they have followed "strict quality-control guidelines."
But an academic specialist here said that while the Chinese might not admit it, they may end up strengthening training and safety procedures as a result of the Soviet accident.
Jiang said China had done detailed research on all kinds of foreign reactors. He noted that the Soviet reactor in question was different from the types now under construction or planned in China.
China's press and television were initially cautious in their coverage of the Chernobyl accident but have given fairly extensive coverage to the reactions around the world.
A senior Chinese engineer working on construction of the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in the south of China said recently that the plant's engineers were discussing ways of improving safety measures planned for the $4 billion plant, which is to be completed by 1990. The Daya Bay plant will supply electricity to Hong Kong.
Reactors at the Daya Bay plant will use water to slow the neutrons to sustain a chain reaction. The Chinese say these types of reactors are safer than the reactor at Chernobyl.