Another nuclear monitor ordered
By ELISABETH TACEY
THE Royal Observatory is to set up another radiation monitoring station in the New Territories and two automatic weather systems on China-owned islands south of Hong Kong to strengthen its network.
Outgoing director Patrick Sham Pak and incoming chief Robert Lau Chi-kwan denied the new facilities were the results of increased concern about the Daya Bay nuclear power plant.
Mr Sham, who retires at 60 in May after 11 years as director, played down the importance of the radiation measuring site, which will be added to the 10 the observatory already has to warn of any leak from Daya Bay.
The equipment would be combined with a station measuring temperature, humidity, wind speed and other weather indicators, and was being added to fill a gap between two other stations, even though international experts had told the observatory its radiation network was big enough, he said.
'This extra station is going to be a meteorological station in the main, to increase the frequency of data collection for the weather.' The Chinese authorities asked for the station, which will be opened by the end of May at Tsak Yue Wu near the High Island Reservoir.
The two automatic stations are part of a network being built with the Guangdong and Macau weather bureaus to provide minute-by-minute weather bulletins for the Pearl River delta.
Each will cost between $100,000 and $200,000 and will be added to one station already situated at Huangmaozhou, southwest of Hong Kong. The sites for the two new stations have not yet been chosen.
Mr Sham admitted that preparing for Daya Bay had been a 'headache', with staff having to learn a new sector.