NUCLEAR POWER

Four staff punished over cover-up at Guangdong nuclear plant after guideline breach

Ministry of Environmental Protection did not say in statement if the incident over a year ago led to radiation leak or posed safety threat to public

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 11:30pm

Four operators at a nuclear power plant in southern China have been punished for breaching operational guidelines and trying to cover up their actions, the ministry of environmental protection said, more than a year after the incident took place.

The four working at the Yangjiang nuclear power plant, located on the seaside in Guangdong province about 200km west of Hong Kong, have received administrative warnings, the ministry said in a statement.

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Their actions caused a “residual heat removal pump” on one of the key reactors to stop functioning for six minutes.

They then tried to cover up the incident and did not enter it into a logbook as required.

The ministry did not say if the incident led to any radioactive leak or whether it caused a safety threat to the public. The reactor in question was under maintenance at the time.

The warnings given to the four employees are administrative punishments, suggesting their actions did not result in major accident. The incident happened on March 22, 2015.

The ministry spent more than a year investigating and the formal punishments were meted out on July 26. The notice was posted on the ministry’s website on Tuesday.

The pump is a crucial part of the water cooling system for the nuclear reactor.

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The four staff took action after receiving an alert from the system during maintenance, according to the ministry.

It did not say what caused the alert.

The nuclear power station, located near Dongping town in Yangjiang, a prefectural level city in southwestern Guangdong, started operations in March 2014.

It was the first Chinese nuclear power plant to go online after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.