Residents of Hong Kong can now visit a nuclear energy 'knowledge centre' provided by the utility China Light and Power (CLP). It is one element in an overall education and readiness campaign inspired by public reaction to the Fukushima accident.
The Nuclear Resource Centre now open in Kowloon Bay promises to "furnish the public with a balanced account of the benefits and issues of nuclear energy from different dimensions of sustainability, environmental, social and economic," said CLP. It relates directly to the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, which lies 50 kilometres to the northeast in mainland China's Guangdong province. Some 70% of the two-unit power plant's output is directed to Hong Kong, where it meets one quarter of demand.
"With the Fukushima accident and future nuclear development in the Guangdong area, we feel obliged to further enhance the literacy on this important subject among the community," said Chan Siu-Hung, managing director of CLP Holdings and also of Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company.
|Chan Siu-Hung presents the Nuclear Resource Centre to journalists (Image: CLP)
Opening the centre, under-secretary for security Lai Tung-kwok said, "After the Fukushima accident the government [of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] has responded to the public's concern about the safety of nuclear power... by undertaking a comprehensive review of the Daya Bay Contingency Plan to ensure the plan is effective in dealing with the necessary measures in the event of a nuclear emergency." The plan revision culminated in a two day exercise in April based on a nuclear emergency and radiological release from the plant in conjunction with heavy rain, risks of landslides and other complicating factors.
Hong Kong authorities said the test, known as Exercise Checkerboard, was the largest it had ever undertaken, involving 3200 officials from 30 departments as well as 2000 members of the public. It included the evacuation of residents from the only part of Hong Kong territory within 20 kilometres of Daya Bay, the island of Ping Chau, using helicopters and a range of sea vessels. Evacuees went through radiological checks and sheltered at school sites, while helicopters and mobile survey teams tracked a simulated release. Vegetables, livestock and goods were checked at points of entry and hospitals set up emergency radiological treatment centres.
Authorities said the exercise went "smoothly" and that the various departments involved would review the result and make refinements to the overall plan. Feedback from the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as observers from mainland China, France, Macao and the UK would be incorporated into the review process. It was said that the exercise could be repeated in three years' time.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News