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Archive for the ‘Nuclear’ Category

Leak of nuclear plant in southern China: Officials are criticized for cover up

Posted by Author on June 15, 2010


Radio Free Asia, 2010-06-15 –

HONG KONG— The Daya Bay nuclear power plant in southern China had a “very small leakage” from a fuel rod that has been contained, Hong Kong’s leading electricity supplier, CLP Holdings Ltd., said in a statement, but activists say the firm should have revealed the incident sooner.

A “small increase” in radioactive substances was detected in cooling water at the plant’s Unit 2 on May 23, CLP said in a statement. “The reactor cooling water is sealed in completely and isolated from the external environment, thus causing no impact to the public.”

Operations at the power plant were unaffected and a task force of nuclear experts had been formed to investigate the situation, CLP said.

Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station is located about 50 kms (30 miles) from the center of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau also said a fuel rod at the Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station experienced a “very small leakage” that increased radioactivity levels slightly in the nuclear reactor’s cooling water on May 23, said in a statement.

The leak was “completely quarantined and, therefore, had no impact on the public,” the bureau said.
Chairman of Hong Kong’s Safety Advisory Committee Raymond Ho Chung Tai said in an interview Tuesday that the danger to the public is negligible.

“This is only a minor incident. If we report such a minor incident, it will only trigger public panic,” he said.

But party opposition members and experts were not as dismissive.

Cover up?

Albert Lai, vice chairman of Hong Kong’s Civic Party who has closely watched the development of the Daya Bay nuclear plant for more than a decade, urged the government and CLP to explain why the public was not informed about the incident until it was first reported by the media.

“[The members of the Hong Kong Safety Committee] should play a surveillance role and report to the Hong Kong government. If they are reporting their findings to the government, why didn’t the government report them to the public?” Lai questioned.

“This incident happened two weeks ago and obviously someone tried to cover it up.”

Members of the Hong Kong Democratic Party said they will pursue the matter with the government, while members of the pro-China Democratic People’s Party protested Tuesday in front of CLP headquarters on Hong Kong Island to express their anger over the cover-up.

Wan Sek Luen Laurie, managing director of Enviro-Chem Engineering Laboratory Co. Ltd, and member of the Daya Nuclear Power Station Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee, said CLP is misleading the public.

He said the statement the company issued that “the level of radioactivity has stabilized over the last two weeks since [the event], without material change” indicates that the fuel rod is still leaking.

“Neutrons cannot be totally sealed. It can go through walls and even the earth. It is the question of the degree of enrichment…Of course, some concrete walls can absorb radiation, but some of are leaking [to the surrounding air] already,” Wan Sek Luen Laurie said.

“It can be said that some of the workers in the plant have been exposed to different levels of radiation. The fuel, when it makes contact with air, becomes uranium hydride, which can detonate in room temperature. It is very dangerous.”

Kok Wai Cheah, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University said that though the fuel rod may only release a very small amount of radiation, the plant should follow international operating procedures by shutting down and replacing the rod.

“The crack [in the fuel rod] may be very small. But if the crack grows larger, the level of radiation will be higher. That means radiation within the reinforced concrete structure will also be higher. If anyone makes contact with it, their health will be in serious danger,” Kok Wai Cheah said.

Cheah warned that if the leaking radiation makes contact with the third external layer of concrete containment, it will endanger the lives of the public.

Citizens uninformed

Local citizens appear to be uninformed of the potential hazards to their health.

A resident in O-lang village near Daya Bay said people there knew very little about the leakage.

“We can sometimes find information online. Otherwise, we know nothing about the incident,” the resident said.

The International Atomic Developmental Authority said in an email that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has seen media accounts reporting the detection of radioactivity in the cooling water at Daya Bay nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 reactor.

But the IAEA said it had received no official notification of the incident, nor did it expect to if the incident was as minor as news reports suggested.

The Daya Bay plant opened in 1994 to wide criticism because of its proximity to Hong Kong’s city center. More than 1 million people signed a petition opposing the plant during its construction.

Radio Free Asia

Posted in Africa, China, Guangdong, Health, Hong kong, Life, News, Nuclear, Official, People, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | 1 Comment »

`China Covered Up Nuke Plant Fire Last Month`, a radiation leak was suspected

Posted by Author on September 19, 2008


Donga.com, South Korea, SEPTEMBER 19, 2008-

A big fire broke out last month in China`s biggest nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, and though a radiation leak was suspected, Chinese media did not report the accident, the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao said yesterday.

The daily said the fire occurred Aug. 26 after a transformer at the Tianwan nuclear plant exploded.

Fourteen fire engines and 66 firefighters were dispatched to the scene, but it took more than five hours to put out the blaze.

Firefighters poured fire suppression foam on the transformer, risking radiation leakage, Ming Pao said, adding, “They had difficulty extinguishing the fire since they had to disassemble the upper part of the transformer.”

Staff at the plant denied the possibility of radiation leakage, however, saying, “As soon as the transformer caught fire, it stopped operating automatically. No problem has so far been reported.”

Hwang Yong-seok, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University, said, “A generator that produces electricity and a transformer used to transmit electricity are placed apart. So there can be no radiation leakage.”

The Tianwan nuclear plant is the largest cooperative project between China and Russia. Plant No. 1 and No.2 were each completed in May and Aug. last year , both of which have a capacity to generate 1.06 gigawatts of electricity.

China, whose nuclear plants can generate up to 9.07 gigawatts of nuclear power, or 1.92 percent of its energy supply, plans to increase the capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020.

– Original: Donga.com, South Korea

Posted in China, Energy, News, Nuclear, Politics, Technology, World | 1 Comment »

China: 100 unidentified radioactive sources to move below quake lake

Posted by Author on June 1, 2008


AFP, May 30, 2008-

DUJIANGYAN, China (AFP) — China rushed Friday to remove radioactive and chemical materials sitting downstream from a “quake lake” that threatens to burst and send torrents of water into heavily populated areas.

Nearly 100 unidentified radioactive sources were ordered to be removed by Friday evening from the path of the potential torrent of water, state press reported, citing the nation’s environmental protection bureau.

“Moving those radioactive sources has become a top, urgent priority,” the Beijing Times quoted Ma Ning, a senior regional official at the bureau, as saying.

The directive to move the radioactive material came as authorities were already working to relocate about 5,000 tonnes of dangerous chemicals that were downstream of the lake at Tangjiashan.

Dealing with the “quake lake” has become one of the key challenges in the aftermath of the May 12 earthquake that devastated large tracts of mountainous Sichuan province, killing more than 68,500 people.

The lake was created when landslides triggered by the quake created a dam across a river in a valley.

Helicopters have been used to airlift supplies to hundreds of soldiers working to create a channel that can drain the lake, which contains enough water to fill over 50,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

After three days of non-stop efforts, the soldiers had dug a 50-metre (164-foot) wide channel 300 metres long, but despite the frantic pace the work would not be completed until next Thursday, the state-run China Daily reported.

More than a million people risk being affected if the Tanjiashan lake empties onto towns and villages downstream, and many residents have been doing regular drills to move quickly to higher ground.

By Saturday morning, close to 200,000 people were expected to have been evacuated from the area, the state-run China International Radio said Friday evening.

However, it was not the only area of Sichuan at risk. There were 33 other lakes created by the quake, 28 of which were at risk of bursting, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Other unexpected dangers also continued to arise amid the massive task of looking after the 15 million people made homeless in the quake.

Gas from a chemical fire in Leigu town, near the epicentre of the quake, poisoned four people and forced more than 800 to evacuate on Thursday, Xinhua reported, citing a local official.

The fire occurred when bleach powder, used as a disinfectant, self-ignited when it reacted with leaked rainwater, said Song Ming, Communist Party secretary for Beichuan county, one of the worst-hit areas.

The dense chlorine gas poisoned two rescue soldiers and two medical workers, who were taken to hospital, according to Xinhua.

No one was available at the environmental protection bureau on Friday to comment on the report about the radioactive sources that were being cleared.

But previous reports in the state press said these sources could emanate from machines used to test defects in the construction of bridges or boats, or from X-ray machines.

There were also several nuclear installations not used for electricity generation in areas near the epicentre of the quake, according to the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) in France.

These included a manufacturing site for nuclear weapons, as well as a nuclear reactor.

The government said last week that nuclear facilities and radioactive sites in Sichuan province were “safe and controllable.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said late Friday that authorities had dispatched thousands of people to inspect businesses in quake-hit areas, finding some with possible environmental risks.

Of 14,357 companies, including some 2,900 chemical firms, surveyed in Sichuan province, inspectors found 134 potential risks, Xinhua news agency said, quoting a statement on the ministry’s website on Friday.

Nearly 30 of the potential risks had been dealt with.

The ministry also said the province’s environmental quality remained stable and water was acceptable for drinking.

The death toll from the quake has reached 68,558, with another 18,618 missing, the government said Friday. Some 15 million people have been displaced in the disaster.

– Afp: China rushes to clear radioactive materials below quake lake

Posted in China, disaster, earthquake, Environment, Health, Life, News, Nuclear, pollution, Sichuan, Social, SW China, World | Comments Off on China: 100 unidentified radioactive sources to move below quake lake

Ignore UN Sanctions on Iran, China Will Invest in Gas Field

Posted by Author on January 13, 2007


BBC News, 11 January 2007-

China has demanded that the US stop interfering in its trade affairs with Iran, after Washington raised concerns over a planned energy deal with Tehran.

Beijing said plans by a Chinese oil firm to invest in an Iranian gas field were “legitimate”, news agency AP said.

The US government last month expressed concern over Chinese state-run oil firm CNOOC’s investment proposals in Iran.

The US said the plan was inappropriate at a time when Iran is defying UN resolutions over its nuclear programme.

The proposed Chinese investment in Iran’s Pars gas field could be worth $16bn (£8.2bn), according to Iranian news agency Mehr.

Nuclear row

CNOOC said the company was currently in talks with Iranian officials to develop the northern gas field, although no agreement had yet been signed.

“We think this kind of co-operation and relationship is legitimate. Normal co-operation should not be interfered (with),” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.

The Associated Press said that when asked if Beijing believed the US was meddling in its business affairs with Iran, Mr Liu responded “this is our position”.

China, which is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, voted last month to impose sanctions on Iran for defying calls by the international community to cease uranium enrichment – a process which could produce weapons grade material for nuclear bombs.

Tehran has denied that it plans to develop atomic weapons, and insists it has a right to enrich uranium for civilian use in nuclear power stations.

from BBC NewsChina defends Iran gas deal talks

Posted in Asia, China, Company, Law, military, News, Nuclear, Politics, Trade, World | 1 Comment »

CHINA – THE REAL THREAT

Posted by Author on November 10, 2006


Roland Watson, Dictator Watch,  November 2006-

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon on October 9th, and it also has ballistic missiles (last tested in July). It further seems likely, with additional technical development, that it will be able to manufacture nuclear warheads for the missiles, thereby threatening all of East Asia and even potentially Alaska and Hawaii.

North Korea also presents a severe risk of nuclear proliferation, and it has close ties to Iran and Pakistan. There is a real possibility that it will sell a nuclear weapon to Islamic extremists, which weapon could then be smuggled to and detonated anywhere in the world.

This constitutes a grave threat to international security. Even China, North Korea’s main ally, is upset over the test, and agreed to support United Nations Security Council sanctions.

At least, that’s the conventional view. Dictator Watch, opposed to conventionality in all its forms, has an opposing perspective.

The nuclear crisis in North Korea has been orchestrated – stage-managed – by China, as a way to take advantage of the Bush Administration’s preoccupation with Iraq. The dissolution of the Soviet Union left a power vacuum, for a leader opposed to the U.S., which China is rushing to fill. The country has embarked on rapid economic development, not as a means to improve the circumstances of ordinary Chinese, but to fund military expansion to secure the might it requires for this role. It is also creating its own powerful axis, or front, by enabling North Korea’s nuclear development, which process is also underway with its other regional client, Burma (see associated article, Nuclear Proliferation and Burma, the Hidden Connection). Both North Korea and Burma are effectively vassals of China: in many ways, like Tibet, annexed provinces.

The leaders of China are old school. Power is grounded in arms. They recognize that economic competition is now supplanting military competition around the world, but to their way of thinking, which is the norm for political dictators everywhere, nothing can replace the gun.

Kim Jong-il is rumored to have made a secret trip to China before the nuclear test. The evidence for this is that one of his personal trains left for the Chinese border on September 5th. I believe this trip was made, and further that its purpose was to secure Chinese permission to conduct the test, which permission was given.

Everyone is blaming North Korea, but the real enemy is China. The Chinese dictators must pay for creating this new threat to world security.

For this, it is important to recognize that China has a weakness. The economic development in the country is changing its social landscape. China is now experiencing its own “Roaring 20s.” The country even has billionaires. But the new riches do not extend to everyone. The country is undergoing the most profound transformation of class structure any society has ever experienced. The “Iron Rice Bowl” of communism, and its inherent assumption of equality, has been destroyed. In its place are the new elites, supported by armies of factory workers, who toil slavish hours and in appalling conditions, and with the rural agricultural communities left far behind, in many cases in extreme poverty.

The Chinese economic boom is largely export driven. Were foreign demand for Chinese goods to collapse, the whole society would be shaken, most importantly the power of the dictatorship. This would be a trigger for the people to get rid of their rulers once and for all. What began in Tiananmen Square in July 1989 would finally be achieved.

The Roaring 20s in the United States came to an abrupt end. We should strive to see this occur in China as well.

The rest of the world can help. International consumers, particularly American consumers, should punish China. Anything “Made in China” should be boycotted in the upcoming holiday season, and beyond. Further, not only will this disrupt the leading threat to international security and peace, it will also reduce gasoline prices. (Energy demand has skyrocketed to meet the needs of Chinese industry.)

International response to the North Korean test

The world responded to North Korea, seemingly with decisiveness. But was this really the case, or is the conventional wisdom once again flawed? To evaluate the response, I will compare it to the actions of President John F. Kennedy after the Soviet Union positioned nuclear missiles in Cuba, using excerpts from his October 22, 1962 speech.

“This government feels obliged to report this new crisis to you in fullest detail.”

The threat from North Korea is equivalent to the Cuban threat. Just as Cuba could have launched a missile against America at any moment, a nuclear weapon of North Korean origin can now be detonated in the United States without warning. President Kennedy addressed the Cuban/Soviet threat decisively and openly. President Bush’s response has been to keep the American public informed only indirectly and in a limited fashion, largely through statements from Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld.

“This secret, swift and extraordinary buildup … is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe.”

The Cuban missile crisis developed rapidly. North Korean proliferation, on the other hand, has been in the works, and public knowledge, for years. Neither Bush, nor Clinton before him, mounted a real challenge. However, the greater responsibility lies with the Bush Administration, which accused the North in October 2002 of having a secret weapons program (in contravention of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the two countries), but which in the following years did not act to suppress it, just as the Administration is now also failing with Iran.

North Korea blackmailed both South Korea and the U.S., using the implicit threat of an invasion of Seoul with its large number of troops positioned just across the DMZ. South Korea appeased the North, giving reportedly close to $1 billion in aid, which funds were then used for the North’s missile and nuclear development. The U.S. stood by and let this happen, so as not to jeopardize its 29,000 troops stationed in the South.

North Korea, with Chinese backing, is now attempting to expand its extortion to the entire world.

This situation, far more than the war in Iraq, is the definitive test of the Bush Presidency.

“To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated.”

“Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of U.N. observers, before the quarantine can be lifted.”

The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions banning trade with North Korea in major weapons and materials usable in ballistic missiles and unconventional weapons programs. This is similar to Kennedy’s quarantine on Cuba, and likewise it requires interdiction at sea. The test of Bush’s resolve is whether this interdiction will take place; whether China will be pressured to ban such shipments along its land border; and finally that the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has dismantled its nuclear program. Any shirking of this responsibility by Bush will severely damage the credibility the United States’ courage and commitments. It will also put the United States at direct risk of nuclear attack.

Already, North Korea, in an extension of its blackmail, has warned South Korea against implementing the sanctions. It has also said that it will return to the negotiating table, which will likely motivate China to try to end its own enforcement responsibility. (more from Dictator Watch)

Posted in Asia, China, corruption, Economy, Environment, Health, Law, Nuclear, Politics, pollution, Report, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on CHINA – THE REAL THREAT

5 faces new charges in US military secrets-to-China case

Posted by Author on October 27, 2006


lawfuel.com, October 25, 2006-

SANTA ANA, California — Five Southern California family members previously charged with acting as agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) today face new charges of conspiring with each other to export United States defense articles to the PRC.

A federal grand jury late this afternoon named the five in a superseding indictment that adds counts of conspiracy to export United States defense articles to China, attempted and actual export of United States defense articles to China, possession of property in aid of a foreign government and making false statements to federal government investigators.

The new charges were announced this afternoon by United States Attorney Debra Wong Yang; J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles; and John Cooper, Special Agent in Charge of the Southwest Field Office for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The 15-count indictment charges:

Chi Mak, 66, of Downey;
Chi Mak’s wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, 63, also of Downey;
Chi Mak’s brother, Tai Mak, 57, of Alhambra;
Tai Mak’s wife, Fuk Heung Li, 49, also of Alhambra; and
the son of Tai Mak and Fuk Li, Billy Yui Mak, 26, of Alhambra.
Chi Mak, his wife and his brother were first indicted in November 2005 on charges of failing to register as foreign agents (see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2005/154.html). In June, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added Fuk Li and her son as defendants (see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2006/070.html). Today’s indictment adds new charges against all five defendants. The new charges include three counts against Chi Mak for actual and attempted unlawful export of defense articles; one count against Tai Mak for possession of property in aid of a foreign government; one count each against Chi Mak, Tai Mak and Rebecca Chiu for making false statements to federal authorities; and one count against all five defendants for conspiracy to export defense articles.

Court documents filed in this case allege that unidentified co-conspirators from the PRC provided Chi Mak with “tasking lists” that requested specific defense information, including sensitive areas of U.S. Naval research concerning nuclear-powered submarines. The lists allegedly contained instructions for Chi Mak to participate in seminars and then compile the information he obtained at the seminars onto computer disks.

Chi Mak, an engineer with Navy contractor Power Paragon, allegedly collected technical information about the Navy’s current and future warship technologies. This included information that was sensitive and subject to restriction regarding its distribution, storage and handling. According to court documents, Chi Mak and his wife allegedly copied the information intended for the PRC onto CD-ROM disks, which were then given to Tai Mak. Billy Mak then allegedly encrypted the defense data onto a CD-ROM disk in preparation for surreptitious delivery to the PRC. This CD-ROM was found hidden in luggage on October 28, 2005 when Fuk Li and Tai Mak attempted to board a flight to the PRC at Los Angeles International Airport. Tai Mak and Fuk Li were arrested at the airport, while Chi Mak and Rebecca Chiu were arrested at their home.

Each count in the indictment carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, with the exception of the counts alleging false statements, which carry a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Chi Mak is in custody pending trial, which is scheduled for March 20, 2007. The other four defendants are scheduled to go on trial on May 15, 2007.

This investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and the NCIS.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Gregory W. Staples
(715) 338-3535

Assistant United States Attorney Craig H. Missakian
(213) 894-0757

Posted in China, Law, News, Nuclear, People, Politics, Social, Technology, USA, World | Comments Off on 5 faces new charges in US military secrets-to-China case

Are China, ROK game to ‘punish’ N. Korea?

Posted by Author on October 13, 2006


The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan, Oct. 14, 2006-

How will China and South Korea react, in practical terms, to North Korea’s claimed nuclear test, which is a threat to the stability of the region?

Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met in Beijing on Friday, but the two leaders only reiterated the standard responses, such as “resolving the issue through peaceful dialogues and negotiations.”

The U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution calling for economic sanctions against North Korea. But if Beijing and Seoul, which have supported Pyongyang mentally and materially, continue to shilly-shally about adopting tough measures to deal with the renegade country, the effectiveness of the resolution will be called into question.

Since North Korea’s announcement Monday that it had carried out a nuclear test, China has been telling the international community that Beijing is ready to cooperate on the issue.

In an angry tone of voice earlier this week, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya said, “There has to be some punitive actions” against Pyongyang’s claimed nuclear test, showing that China was ready to accept sanctions against North Korea.

The devil they know

Timed to coincide with discussions at the U.N. Security Council to finalize the U.S.-led draft of a resolution, Hu dispatched State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan as his special envoy to Washington.

In his meetings with U.S. President George W. Bush and other senior U.S. officials, Tang agreed with the U.S. view that strong messages should be sent to Pyongyang and that its nuclear test should be severely condemned.

However, will China actually take steps that merit the use of a word as strong as “punitive?”

China has controlled the lifeline of North Korea as its largest aid donor and trading partner. Furthermore, Beijing’s influence over Pyongyang has increased in recent years along with China’s economic expansion.

If China were to stop its supply of crude oil and food to North Korea in tandem with the U.N. resolution, the regime in Pyongyang could well be brought to its knees.

In such an event, a great flood of North Korean refugees would doubtlessly rush into China. The chaos resulting from such an influx of refugees would have a great impact on the diplomatic and domestic affairs of China, and would stall its economic growth.

This is a nightmare scenario for the Chinese leadership. ( more from The Yomiuri Shimbun report )

Posted in Asia, China, military, News, Nuclear, Official, Politics, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on Are China, ROK game to ‘punish’ N. Korea?

 
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