Secretary for Security John Lee said Wednesday that the Daya Bay nuclear power plant had an “ideal” safety record over the last 20 years.

He said that the Chinese nuclear plant, which sits about 50km from Hong Kong, is ranked among the world’s top 25 per cent best-performing plants by the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu. File Photo: GovHK.

Lee added that the government hopes to raise public awareness on nuclear power and emergency plans through activities such as giving talks to schools.

His remarks came amid a two-day emergency drill simulating a leak in the nuclear plant. Lee said around 1,000 civil servants from different departments participated in the drill on Wednesday.

The drill at Tung Ping Chau. Photo: HK government.

The drill simulated an evacuation of Hong Kong residents located within 20km from the nuclear plant.

During Wednesday’s practice, over 100 residents and tourists on Tung Ping Chau – an outlying island located around 20km from Daya Bay – were evacuated by marine police to the Ma Liu Shui ferry pier in Sha Tin.

The drill at Tung Ping Chau. Photo: HK government.

They then went through a decontamination procedure, with officers monitoring their radiation levels.

The drill at Tung Ping Chau. Photo: HK government.

The government said that in cases of nuclear accidents, the Hong Kong Observatory will monitor radiation levels with newly-purchased radiological survey vehicles.

The government engaged French nuclear safety institute IRSN to be the consultant for the drill. It also invited a number of Hong Kong, Chinese and Japanese nuclear safety groups to observe the exercise and give suggestions.

A government radiological survey vehicle. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam also observed the drill at a monitoring centre.

Lee said the emergency drills take place every three to five years and added that there is no plan to increase their frequency.

See more: Welding defects of deaerator at Chinese nuclear plant were long known to manufacturer, documents show

There have been concerns over the safety of two Chinese nuclear power plants near Hong Kong – in Daya Bay and Taishan – following recent reports from news agency FactWire that a component of the Taishan nuclear plant had cracked during performance tests.

Documents show that the defects were known to the manufacturer as early as 2012, but they were not revealed to the public until local media exposed the incident last week.

The Taishan nuclear plant sits about 120km from Hong Kong.


Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.