'Silence' on Daya Bay suspicious says Fung

PRESSURE should be stepped up on the owners of the Daya Bay nuclear station to reveal any problems with its operation, according to anti-plant campaigner and Legislative Councillor, the Reverend Fung Chi-wood.

Following Sunday's incident, he and other legislators are calling again for Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company (HKNIC), joint owner of the station with the Chinese Government, to act responsibly and reveal any problems at the plant.

Mr Fung said the operators' long silence was a source of suspicion in itself.

''This sort of incident is of grave public concern,'' he said. ''It's too late to be finding out the details of the incident a week later. It should not be up to reporters to find things out. They [the operators] should report it themselves directly.'' He said his own questions about plant safety had often gone unanswered by HKNIC.

''People are very worried about Daya Bay and they would feel better if they knew what was going on.'' Mr Fung said the repercussions of a pump shutting off could be dramatic since, without sufficient water running through the reactor, it could become overheated and melt, events which would certainly spark a leakage.

''The safety standards of Daya Bay are not properly guaranteed because China does not have an independent and effective monitoring body.'' Mr Fung is pressing for a Legislative Council sub-committee on Daya Bay. ''We need to have a contingency plan, ways to monitor food and water, give advice to people and advise them about nuclear sheltering.


''We must put pressure on HKNIC to release reports.'' He said it was wrong that the Daya Bay issue was currently only discussed three times a year by the environmental affairs panel. ''This subject is too complicated and important to be discussed only once every three or four months for only 45 minutes.'' Mr Fung said he believed plans for two other nuclear plants so close to Hong Kong were ''totally unacceptable''.

Meanwhile, Dr Tong Cheuk-man, president of the Hong Kong Society of Nuclear Medicine, an independent group of specialists, said there was a contingency plan in case of a nuclear accident.

''We do have a contingency plan . . . but I cannot give details of what those plans are.

''It would only really be Chinese residents who would be involved and we only treat Hong Kong residents.'' Asked if he was concerned about Hong Kong being ''ringed'' by nuclear plants, Dr Tong said: ''It depends on where they are built. I am not very concerned at present, but in my opinion obviously the farther away they are built, the better.''