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Watchdog calls for check of power plants
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-09 00:42

China's top environmental watchdog yesterday called for a crackdown on power plants built in violation of rules.

Environmental protection authorities across the country were asked to thoroughly check power plants that are under construction or planned to see if they have undergone environment impact assessment.

Those launched without an impact assessment or approval from environment authorities will be stopped or required to go through necessary procedures.

Authorities will refuse to take applications from companies which do not clean up their act.

They will also supervise approved projects or those already under construction and urge them to implement environmental protection measures.

Due to the country's soaring demand for power, a large number of power plants have been built in the last year with no regard to national polices, said Pan Yue, vice-minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, yesterday.

That leads to more projects under construction than those that had been planned and goes beyond the capacity of the country's resources and environment, he said.

According to Pan, in the first 11 months of the year, the administration received environmental assessment impact reports on 200 power plants with a capacity of 175.6 million kilowatts.

Among them, 94 were approved. They have a capacity of 80.8 million kilowatts. The rest were either rejected or are being dealt with.

The peak time was in September, October and November, when 50, 43 and 46 projects were submitted to the administration.

The phenomenon shows that development has derailed from normal track, Pan said.

The 200 projects are scattered all over the country with the exception of Beijing, South China's Hainan Province and Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Pan said if all of the 200 projects are put into operation, the consumption of coal in the country will grow by more than 400 million tons a year.

At the same time, those plants could discharge an additional 5 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 53.3 million tons of smoke and dust each year if no pollution control measures are taken.

That could make it hard for some provinces and regions to reach their sulfur dioxide control targets and cause serious pollution, Pan said.

He said to assess the environment impact of power plants, full consideration should be given to the status and capacity of the environment where the plants are to be built.

In regions where there are more plants than the environment can sustain, strict reduction measures should be taken to ensure that the discharge of pollutants does not increase.

In northern regions which are short of water, the building of power plants must go through strict feasibility study. For projects in such regions, the use of underground water is banned.

Pan said the administration will also take similar actions to check sectors such as steel, cement and electrolyte aluminium.

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