Hong Kong leader “concerned” over Chinese nuclear power plant

HONG KONG (AP) – The Hong Kong leader said on Tuesday that her government was “very concerned” about the situation at a nearby nuclear power plant in mainland China, following reports that the plant could be leaking.

Still, data from the Hong Kong Observatory and other departments showed that as of Monday evening, radiation levels in the city were normal, leader Carrie Lam said at a regular press conference. .

Data from the observatory showed that was still the case on Tuesday.

Lam’s comments came a day after the French co-operator of the Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong province said it was facing a “performance problem” at the plant, but it was operating in security settings. The company’s statement follows reports in the media that the plant may be leaking.

The plant is about 135 kilometers (85 miles) from Hong Kong, meaning a potential leak could impact the financial hub.

“Regarding foreign media reports on a nuclear power plant in Taishan, Guangzhou, the Hong Kong government is very concerned,” Lam said.

She said the city has systems in place to monitor the level of radiation and the government will notify the public of any developments. Lam also said his government would contact authorities in Guangdong about the situation.

The Taishan plant is jointly owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and the French multinational electricity company Électricité de France, the main owner of Framatome, which is involved in the operation of the plant.

CNN reported on Monday that Framatome wrote to the US Department of Energy warning of an “imminent radiological threat” and accusing Chinese authorities of increasing the acceptable limits for radiation outside the plant to avoid having to close it. CNN said U.S. officials believe the current situation at the plant does not pose a serious security threat.

Electricité de France said in a press release Monday that it had been informed of the increase in the concentration of “certain rare gases” in the primary circuit of reactor n ° 1 at the Taishan plant.

The utility has also asked the joint venture that manages the plant to hold a meeting of its board of directors so that management “presents all the necessary data and decisions.”

Chinese authorities in Beijing and Guangdong did not immediately respond to attempts to solicit comment on Monday, a public holiday.

The two reactors at the Taishan plant entered commercial operation in December 2018 and September 2019, the local municipality said on its website. They are the first of a new type called European pressurized reactors to become operational worldwide.

Construction started earlier on two other EPRs in Finland and France, but they continue to face costly delays.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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