Fukushima fallout: China orders safety audit on new n-plants

Beijing: In the aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis China has found it prudent to announce a safety audit of all new nuclear projects. Its large neighbour, and close competitor in the nuclear stakes, India, made its move early in the game announcing a safety audit of all plants, old and new, on Monday.

Observers feel the announcement could affect China's ambitious nuclear programme which, by far, is the world's largest.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Council, chaired by premier Wen Jiabao. A statement at the government website said, ''We will temporarily suspend approval of nuclear power projects, including those in the preliminary stages of development."

The State Council called for use of "the most advanced standards" to proceed with a safety assessment of all nuclear plants under construction.

"Any hazards must be thoroughly dealt with, and those that do not conform to safety standards must immediately cease construction," the statement said.

The State Council statement also said it had detected no abnormal levels of radiation in China from Japan. Chinese experts had concluded that wind would scatter any radiation from the crippled Japanese plant over the Pacific Ocean, said the statement.