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China Sends Soldiers to Load Coal as Freeze, Snow Limit Supply
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BEIJING, Jan. 13 -- China dispatched hundreds of soldiers to help load coal for delivery to electricity generators after snow and freezing weather disrupted transportation, threatening to force power plants to shut.

Deliveries from northern China's Qinghuangdao Port, the nation's largest hub for coal supplies, total 4.5 million tons in the first 10 days of January, almost a record, the People's Daily reported today, without citing anyone.

Shanxi province, the nation's top coal production base, is also reopening mines that were closed as part of government-led mergers of local miners, according to the Beijing-based newspaper, which is published by the Communist Party of China.

Snow in China this month has snarled transportation and restricted supplies of coal at power plants as the freezing weather fueled demand. Beijing, Shanghai and other regions of China limited gas and electricity use to guarantee power needed for heating. China may be forced to shut 11 percent of power generators connected to the nation's main grid because of coal shortages, the Xinhua News Agency said yesterday.

The province of Henan ordered local coalmines to operate at full capacity and continue production during the coming Chinese Lunar New Year to guarantee supplies of the fuel, the People's Daily reported.

Heavy snowfall is forecast for Tibet today, the China Meteorological Administration said in an e-mailed statement. Parts of Heilongjiang, Shandong, Xinjiang and Qinghai province are also expected to get snow today, the weather bureau said.

Temperatures in Beijing are forecast to fall to as low as minus-13 degrees Celsius (8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) today, according to the bureau. Shanghai temperatures are expected to drop to minus-4 degree Celsius, the bureau said.


electric power
freezing weather
heavy snow
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