Citing concerns over Fukushima Daiichi, China has called for a timeout in the development of the world's largest nuclear fleet.

Fallout From Japanese Disaster: China Puts Brakes on Nuke Power
The Taishan nuclear units being built by Areva in China are just 2 of 25 currently under construction in China.
Fallout From Japanese Disaster: China Puts Brakes on Nuke Power
Shaw/Westinghouse is building four units in China and helping to develop two others.

The announcement, made March 16 by China's State Council, or Cabinet, could affect four AP1000s being built by The Shaw Group and Westinghouse, two others the group is helping to design, and two reactors being developed by Areva. China is currently building 25 nuclear reactors and had planned to have 80 GW of nuclear power online by 2020. The country has six nuclear reactors along the country's eastern and southern coasts.

Gentry Brann, a spokeswoman for The Shaw Group, Baton Rouge, La., said March 16 that the company had received confirmation that its work would move forward following a period of review.

China had earlier said that the Fukushima incident would not impact the development of nuclear plants, but after a Council meeting Wednesday it said it would suspend the approval process for nuclear power stations so that safety standards can be revised.

Before the revised safety standards are approved, all new nuclear power plants, including pre-construction works, should be suspended, according to the statement.

The State Council has required relevant departments to do safety checks at existing plants, according to the state news agency.

"Safety is our top priority in developing nuclear power plants," the State Council said in the statement, calling for a comprehensive safety check and enhanced management over existing plants.

In Japan, workers were still battling overheating in three units at Fukushima Daiichi. Owner Toyko Electric Power Co. said that early Tuesday, an "extraordinary sound" was heard inside the pressure chamber of unit 2 and that the pressure inside the chamber decreased afterwards. TEPCO says it was "determined that there is a possibility that something extraordinary happened in the suppression chamber."

This file updates an earlier version 03/16/2011