From left to right: Hui Zhang (MTA), Yugang Wang (PKU), Yingmao Tang (PKU), Christopher Ward (MTA), Matthew Bunn (MTA), and Margaret Doane (Director, Office of International Programs, U.S. NRC)
"Post Fukushima, Nuclear Experts Discuss Nuclear Power Legislation in China"
Author: Christopher Wand, Former Program Assistant, Project on Managing the Atom
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Managing the Atom
Given new urgency by last year’s Fukushima accident, China is considering new legislation that will help determine the role that nuclear plants will play in powering one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the world. This summer, the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) hosted a workshop that brought together experts from Peking University’s Nuclear Policy and Law Center with American nuclear experts both from within and outside the Belfer Center. MTA Project Co-Principal Investigator Matthew Bunn chaired the meeting. The visitors from Peking University, who are engaged in helping to draft the new nuclear law, included professors Wang Jin, Wang Yugang, and Tang Yingmao.
The meeting tackled the critical decisions facing Chinese policymakers with regard to reforming China’s nuclear regulatory structure. Lessons from the U.S. and international experience were provided by outside experts, including Margaret Doane, director of the Office of International Programs at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; George Frampton, former chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; David Lochbaum, director of UCS’s nuclear safety program; and Carlton Stoiber, author of the IAEA Handbook on Nuclear Law. MTA’s Executive Director Martin Malin and Senior Research Associate Hui Zhang, who organized the meeting, also participated.
Participants discussed a variety of issues, including whether the proposed law ought to be a unified and comprehensive piece of legislation on the model of the United States Atomic Energy Act. The discussion also focused on how and by whom the law ought to be enforced, how to balance safety, security, and economic development, what role public participation has to play in decision making about nuclear power, and what legal liability regime ought to be put into place.
Stoiber, who in addition to being an expert on nuclear law is a gifted cartoonist, drew a cartoon for the occasion, questioning whether the American “umbrella law” model is as comprehensive as it seems. The workshop was supported with funds from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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