China denies N-dealings with Iran, N Korea, Libya

Agence France Presse

Beijing, June 6:

Construction of Pak reactor to begin by year end.

China said today that it was willing to engage in international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but denied that it had any such dealings with Iran, North Korea or Libya.

“The cooperation between CNNC and foreign counterparts is for peaceful uses of nuclear power. We will actively carry out such cooperation,” Kang Rixin, general manager of the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), told journalists. “Our international cooperation is for the peaceful use and we strictly follow relevant rules and principles. We have no such cooperation with Iran, North Korea or Libya.” Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is now under detention, publicly admitted early last year he had passed nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya that could be used to build nuclear weapons. Iran has been subject to more than two years of investigations by the international nuclear watchdog after it emerged the country had been covering up its activities for 18 years. Tehran insists its programmes are for producing electricity. Kang said China has also exported several 27 kilowatt neutron reactors under the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines, but he did not say when or to which countries.

China, which is expected to be the fastest growing nuclear energy nation in the world over the next 15 years, has also imported reactors from France, Canada and Russia. Meanwhile, according to another report, the construction of a 300 megawatt Chinese-made nuclear power

plant in Pakistan is expected to begin as early as the end of this year, a leading Chinese official said. “In May last year, CNNC signed with the Pakistani side a contract concerning the second 300 megawatt power plant in Chashma,” Kang Rixin said. “Now the contract is being carried out and by the end of this fiscal year or the beginning of next year construction on this project will be started and the first concrete will be poured.” The reported $700 million project is the second phase of the Chashma power plant, which already has a similar 300 megawatt Chinese-made reactor that began operation in 2000. The design of the reactor is based on China’s homemade Qinshan 1 nuclear reactor in its eastern province of Zhejiang. In December, the two sides signed an agreement for the utilisation of $150 million of the

“preferential export credit” provided by China for construction of the second unit at Chashma which sits in Pakistan’s central Punjab province.