Government announces revised Daya Bay Contingency Plan

     The Government has completed its review on the Daya Bay Contingency Plan (DBCP) and has revised the plan, incorporating a series of enhancement measures to ensure that the plan progresses with time and continues to provide adequate protection to the health and safety of Hong Kong people.  

     A Security Bureau spokesperson said today (March 6) that local experts in various fields have been consulted during the review. The Government has also studied the prevailing standards set by international organisations, as well as the practices of advanced countries in nuclear contingency planning.

     The DBCP currently provides for a range of 20 kilometres from the nuclear power stations at Daya Bay as "Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) 1" (Ping Chau is the only land mass in Hong Kong within this zone), with possible evacuation, sheltering or the use of thyroid blocking agents as countermeasures.

     The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) has put in place new software for its Accident Consequence Assessment System to simulate and assess the possible radiological consequences of a release. This computer-based system can ingest the latest meteorological information as well as information on the magnitude of the radiological release to model the transport and dispersion of the released radioactive materials and predict the radiation dose to the public in various parts of the territory.  

     To enhance the capabilities to assess accident consequences, the HKO has during the review made use of the Accident Consequence Assessment System to simulate the consequences of possible serious accidents at the nuclear power stations at Daya Bay. The review confirmed that it is appropriate to maintain a 20km radius for "EPZ1", which is in line with the prevailing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and the best practices of advanced countries.

     The spokesperson said a series of enhancement measures have been set out based on the review outcomes. Key areas covered include radiation monitoring, countermeasures on food and water, assistance to contaminated persons, and enhancement in public information dissemination.

     To enhance the radiation monitoring work in Hong Kong, the HKO has established two new radiation monitoring stations at Chek Lap Kok and Cape D'Aguilar for more comprehensive coverage of the atmospheric radiation monitoring throughout the territory. In the case of a nuclear emergency, the Government will also enhance the radiation monitoring of marine water (to include public beaches and fish culture zones).

     The DBCP also provides for the range of 85km as "EPZ2" (covering the whole territory of Hong Kong), with controls over food, live food animals and water imported from areas close to the nuclear power stations, locally produced or supplied.

     To ensure that the food monitoring work complies with international standards, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has agreed with the Mainland authorities that both sides will use the most up-to-date guideline level of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) under the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO) in monitoring food exports and imports. During an emergency, the FEHD, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) will publish and update the relevant surveillance results and information on their websites as well as the DBCP's dedicated website.

     The public health risk due to inbound persons and goods should be minimal in general. Nevertheless, the Government will institute comprehensive monitoring of air, marine water, drinking water, food and live food animals, and conduct screening in the territory and at the points of entry according to the DBCP.

     Individuals may get worried that they might be contaminated by radioactive fallout. To address public anxiety and to avoid overloading public hospital facilities with suspected cases, the Government has revised the DBCP regarding the establishment of Monitoring Centres to provide quick radiation scanning and simple decontamination services.

     To enhance information dissemination, the Government has set up a dedicated website for the DBCP which will be used for public education in normal times, and will provide one-stop, up-to-date information to the public during an emergency.

     The website will also be a portal to other websites providing essential information, such as radiation monitoring data hosted by the HKO (including measurement results of air samples and the hourly-updated ambient gamma radiation dose rates), food and water surveillance results hosted by the FEHD and the WSD, health information hosted by the Department of Health, emergency information hosted by Guangdong and other Mainland authorities, and information hosted by international organisations such as the IAEA and the WHO.

     Moreover, during an emergency, daily press conferences with co-ordinated attendance of officials of responsible departments and outside experts will be organised to update members of the public on the latest situation.

     The spokesperson said the Government is preparing for a major inter-departmental exercise based on the revised DBCP, with a view to carrying it out in the next quarter.

     It is estimated that over 30 government bureaux and departments will send officers to participate in the exercise. The Government also plans to invite relevant local resident bodies and volunteers to play an appropriate part in the exercise, to enhance its realism and to test out certain procedures and arrangements. The Government will also invite local, Mainland and overseas observers to evaluate the performance of the players in the exercise and make recommendations for improvements.

     The Government will assess the outcome of the exercise, identify lessons learned and closely monitor any new nuclear safety standards that may be promulgated by the IAEA, Mainland authorities and other advanced countries and make refinements to the revised DBCP as necessary.

     The revised DBCP has been uploaded to the dedicated website at Members of the public are welcome to visit it.

Ends/Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:05