by Staff Writers
Beijing, Beijing Shi (AFP) July 13, 2013
Plans for a nuclear processing plant in southern China have been cancelled, media reported Saturday, following the latest in a series of protests that reveal growing environmental concerns in the country.
Almost 1,000 people on Friday walked through the centre of Guangdong province's Jiangmen City, which is 30 kilometres (20 miles) away from the proposed facility at Longwan Industrial Park, the local Jiangmen Daily said.
The demonstration, which was billed as an innocent stroll, was organised online in opposition to the fuel processing plant, which some domestic reports say could have provided enough fuel for about half of China's atomic energy needs -- or 1,000 tonnes of uranium -- by 2020.
The 37 billion yuan ($6 billion) project, which features uranium conversion and enrichment facilities, was cancelled on Saturday, state-run news agency Xinhua said, citing local officials. The project was the first nuclear fuel production plant planned for southeast China, china.org.cn said, a website under the information department of the State Council.
"We don't need such projects to boost the economy," a resident surnamed Liu, who was attending the protest, was quoted by the website as saying. Demonstrations over environmental issues have increased in China, where three decades of rapid and unfettered industrial expansion have taken their toll.
Similar incidents are reported regularly around the country, many over projects that people say are linked to corruption, but authorities typically quash the protests and push ahead with their plans.
Local authorities in the coastal city of Xiamen cancelled plans for a chemical plant after thousands took part in a protest in 2007. A huge protest in the northeastern city of Dalian in 2011 prompted authorities to announce a similar climbdown.
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