Report of Daya Bay nuclear leak dismissed by CLP and government

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 June, 2010, 12:00am

The government and CLP Power have dismissed a report by Radio Free Asia claiming the Daya Bay nuclear plant in Shenzhen had suffered a major leak that was threatening public safety.

The report one of the Washington-based station's Chinese-language websites quoted a 'Hong Kong expert source' as saying the plant's number two unit experienced an abnormal situation on May 23 in which a large amount of radioactive iodine was released into the air.

It said the management had kept the incident secret and later reported it to authorities in Beijing.

CLP Power said last night that the report was false. It said there was an incident on May 23 but radiation was not released. There was a slight increase of radioactive iodine and radioactive gas in the cooling water of reactor unit 2. It said the level of these substances had remained stable over the past two weeks. Initial analysis showed there was a minor leak in a fuel rod. An expert group was monitoring the situation.

CLP Power said the incident was so minor it did not earn a rating on an international nuclear incident rating system, but the plant - 50 kilometres from Hong Kong - had reported the incident to the state nuclear safety authorities and its own safety consultative committee, a body set up by the Hong Kong government.

Hong Kong's Security Bureau said the Observatory's radiation monitoring stations had not spotted anything strange on May 23. It would study the incident further and follow up with CLP Power.

Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak said his party urged the Hong Kong government to tell the public what had happened because it involved the safety of everyone in the city.