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Safety in China

What should you do if there is a leak at Shenzhen’s Daya Bay nuclear plant? Hong Kong island residents get ready (just in case)

More than 30 governmental departments stage two-day contingency drill on outlying island of Tung Ping Chau

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 10:20pm

About 3,000 staff from more than 30 government departments will stage a two-day contingency drill on an outlying island in Hong Kong from Wednesday to simulate a leak at a nuclear plant in China.

About 100 residents and tourists on Tung Ping Chau, which is around 20km away from the Daya Bay nuclear plant in Shenzhen, were transported from the island under the assistance of the police and firefighters.

They were taken to Ma Liu Shui ferry pier in Sha Tin and monitored for radiation at Ma Liu Shui Marine Police Base.

A government source familiar with the contingency mechanism said the administration intended to carry out large-scale interdepartmental exercises on the Daya Bay contingency plan every five years to test the response.

“The objective of the exercise is to test and enhance government’s ability in dealing with serious nuclear incidents and to promote public awareness,” the source said.

The Hong Kong Observatory also showcased equipment to measure radiation.

According to the exercise, the steering group, chaired by the Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, had initiated an emergency meeting with the Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and 10 other top officials after the nuclear plant had notified them of radiation leakage.

The group discussed contingency plans, countermeasures and agreed to evacuate areas within 20km of the plant.

The Customs and Excise Department, the Immigration Department, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Transport Department and the Environment Protection Department were among those who took part.

The Security Bureau, which led the event, invited a French public organisation with expertise in nuclear and radiological risks to design the scenario and conduct technical training.

Besides this institution, nuclear and radiological experts from Japan and mainland China also gave advice.

Security minister, John Lee Ka-chiu, led the city leader, the Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Secretary for Home Affairs, Lau Kong-wah, to inspect the drill on Wednesday.

The second day will focus on countermeasures on imported food and incoming passengers through Man Kam To control point as they could be “infected”.

Patient treatment and decontamination inside the Emergency Radiation Treatment Centre at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan will also be simulated.

A similar large scale of exercise, which involved more than 30 bureaus and departments, was conducted in April 2012.