Beijing: Reacting to criticism against nuclear power plants, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said people should keep an open mind about nuclear power, even as public concerns mounted over safety of nuclear plants following radiation leaks from Japanese reactors.

"The world must be open-minded about the use of nuclear power as a source of clean energy despite the crisis in Japan," Blair said here.

The fallout at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as a result of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami "make people hesitate, or at least pause, in order to
analyze what it all means and what the impact is", he said.

His comments, projected prominently in the official media were major boost to China's massive plans to expand nuclear power.

Green technology is the key

Blair said China is a great place to deploy new green technology.

Blair is visiting China to help promote the "China Redesign" programme, which was a joint partnership between an independent, non-profit environmental organization that promotes green growth and Chinese city governments and businesses.

"We are asking China to develop in a sustainable way when countries like mine developed without regard to the environment. So this is why there is a great responsibility and obligation to understand why this is such a big challenge (for China) and why it is so important that we help in that.

"The key is technology," he said. 
In the past two years Blair has visited China 12 times, mainly to promote programs for green growth and low-carbon development.

China to beef up safety standards

While Chinese government has halted plans to build numerous nuclear plants so as to review safety procedures, China's nuclear plant operator, China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), has said it will beef up safety standards but there will be no changes in its plans to build more plants.

China at present has 13 reactors and approved construction of 10 more mega nuclear reactors in addition to 25 currently being built to step up its nuclear power generation capacity to 86 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 with a massive investment of USD 121.5 billion.

Also China promised to build three more nuclear plants for Pakistan, including one giga mw plant, in addition to the two already built.

(Agencies)