Don't mislead pupils, anti-nuclear group says
An anti-nuclear coalition is calling for a boycott of what it says is a narrow and misleading competition designed to promote support for nuclear energy among young people.
But the competition organisers, a body of civil servants formed to promote science, say all they are trying to do is create understanding in the wake of panic over the Fukushima radiation leak in Japan.
Entrants from primary and secondary schools will be asked to hand in reports of up to 20 pages on the 'challenges and opportunities of using nuclear energy'.
The Hong Kong Alliance Against Nukes, consisting of 39 groups from various backgrounds including lawmakers, social activists and pressure groups, has written an open letter to teachers, asking them to boycott the event organised by Science in the Public Service (SPS), which is made up of representatives from 40 government bureaus and departments.
The alliance accused the organisers of providing a misleading 'preamble' that presumed Hong Kong was too small for renewable energy development and that nuclear power was the only way for the city to address climate change.
The preamble says: 'In the broader context of sustaining the development of our society and mitigation of climate change, what are your views on using nuclear energy in Hong Kong? Can you arrive at a logical conclusion from a scientific angle?'
Alliance spokeswoman Dr Man Si-wai said they feared the project would lead pupils to look at the issues only from a narrow scientific perspective and miss out social, economic and political controversies.
Leung Wing-mo, assistant director of the Observatory and member of the organising committee for SPS, said the alliance was overreacting. He said the theme was chosen after the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March, and that the Environment Bureau - which is proposing to double the intake of nuclear energy from the mainland - was not involved in formulating the theme. 'During the crisis, we have seen that many people have little understanding about radiation, and that's why there was some panic buying of salt,' he said.
CLP Holdings said last month it would invest this amount, in HK dollars, in a nuclear power project in Yangjiang, Guangdong