Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 28, Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant – Forty years champion for the environment

Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant

From the early days CA has developed an anti-nuclear stand. The September 1973 issue of the SOS Environment was about nuclear energy and nuclear weapons which CA opposed. An article in the September 1975 issue of SOS by Father Harold Naylor expressed concerns over radioactive wastes and the links between nuclear power and nuclear weaponry.

But CA’s campaign against nuclear power was more intellectual than real, until 1980 when a nearby nuclear reactor became a real possibility. From 1980 to 1982, CA changed from a mere voice to a campaigner against the construction of a nuclear power plant at Daya Bay, just outside of Hong Kong’s north east borders.

As reported in CA’s 1982 Annual Report, “The Association has joined with the Asia Monitor Resources Centre and Student Christian Movement to organize the Joint Organisation of the Concerned for Nuclear Energy (JOCNE)… A public seminar on this subject was held on 12.6.82 at the Polytechnic with heated participation.” A radiation specialist Dr Rosaline Bertell was invited to Hong Kong in November 1982 to hold a public seminar on impact of nuclear power. From CA side, the campaign was led by Albert Lai, WK Chan and Peter Neu, with Trini Leung of the AMRC also playing an active role.

JOCNE’s work concentrated on educating the public about nuclear energy and the health impact of radiations. It queried China Light & Power’s electricity demand projections for Hong Kong, and questioned Hong Kong government’s role in China’s overall energy plan. Through CA it expanded the campaign by engaging the media as well as other civil society groups like Christian Industrial Committee and the Society for Community Organisation (SoCO). With CLP and the Chinese government being strong advocates of nuclear power, JOCNE called on the Hong Kong government to stay neutral and to defend the public interest of Hong Kong. Despite JOCNE’s position, it engaged closely with the nuclear power proponents, organizing a site visit to Daya Bay in 1983 and holding discussion with the Chinese authorities.

Whilst both sides remained friendly, the gap grew wider and in 1986 JOCNE launched what was to become the biggest signature campaign in Hong Kong’s history, with one million names signing up against the nuclear power plant. Despite that, Daya Bay was a confirmed decision in 1987, with a Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant Safety Advisory Committee廣東大亞灣核電站安全諮詢委員會 being formed in an attempt to allay the concern of the Hong Kong public. Though increasingly futile, CA and JOCNE continued to organize the opposition against Daya Bay, including a concert named Musicians United Against Nuclear in July 1987, a Conference for a Nuclear-Free Asia Pacific in June 1988 with 20 anti-nuclear scientists and campaigners from nine countries, and an Anti-nuclear seminar in December 1988 featuring Rosalie Bartell. Reports in October 1992 about a second nuclear power plant in Guangdong prompted another statement by CA to Secretary for Planning Environment and Lands Tony Eason, in his capacity as Hong Kong’s representative in the Hong Kong-Guangdong Environmental Liaison Group, opposing more nuclear plants.

CA greeted Daya Bay’s opening in 1994 with a bicycle rally on 20 February in Shatin protesting against nuclear power and calling for a sustainable energy policy. While accepting the reality of Daya Bay, CA continued to monitor its operation, including organizing a site visit in November 1995; but at the same time maintaining its opposition to nuclear energy in general. In September 1995, CA was represented by Lo Wai Yan in the Asia non-nuclear conference 非核亞洲論譠 in Taiwan, signing a declaration against nuclear energy. From the summer of 1995 to early 1996, CA led an opposition campaign against nuclear energy of another kind, namely, nuclear testing in Polynesia by France. A “millions say no” 萬萬不可 campaign by the Anti-Nuclear Action, which comprised all four major green groups, saw 54,000 signatures collected and submitted to the French embassy and the New China (Xinhua) News Agency on 15 February 1996 opposing nuclear testing. The signatures were handed in Lai See packets after a protest march led by traditional lion dance with protesters in Chinese New Year dress. CA’s last major statement against nuclear power was issued on 30 March 1996 to mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and call for a sustainable and non-nuclear energy policy.

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May 4, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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