Two Nuclear Protests Greet Chief Executive at C40 Opening Greenpeace Warns Against Expansion of Nuclear Power in Hong Kong

Press release - 2010-11-05
Two successive Greenpeace demonstrations greeted Chief Executive Donald Tsang at C40 Climate Leaders workshop, which aim at exposing the SAR government’s intentions to drastically increase dirty nuclear power as a share of Hong Kong’s energy mix. Greenpeace asks Chief Executive Tsang to address the dangers of nuclear power and as soon as possible rescind the government proposal to expand nuclear energy in Hong Kong. Three activists unfurled a large 20m x 10m banner declaring “Nuclear is not the solution” from the wall of the old wing of the convention center prior to the arrival of the Chief Executive.

Three activists unfurled a large 20m x 10m banner declaring “Nuclear is not the solution” from the wall of the old wing of the convention center prior to the arrival of the Chief Executive.

Six activists were arrested afterwards for public nuisance and on one to two months bail.

Inside the conference venue, two other activists interrupted Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s opening speech with a siren to symbolize the urgent danger of nuclear power. They also displayed banners reading “No Nuclear Expansion” to protest the Environmental Protection Department’s false claim that nuclear power is clean.Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo condemns the government for arresting protesters that were only participating in a peaceful demonstration. He warns that the government needs to stop deceiving its citizens, and drop its pretense in front of the visiting delegations from 43 cities around the world.

He says, “Hong Kong is trying to reduce its emissions using the most dangerous and the most polluting method of nuclear energy, yet the government is pretending that it is adopting clean-energy solutions at the C40 conference. What’s more, the government is deliberately concealing the high costs of nuclear power from the public – it is entirely much too insulting.”

Secretary for Environment Edward Yau told the media after the opening of the workshop that safety, reliability, environment-friendly and economic efficiency are the main concerns of the government in considering a new energy mix for Hong Kong.

Koo argues that nuclear energy is in this sense completely not qualified, “The public consultation on nuclear expansion is not revealing to the public with the fact that nuclear is unsafe, unreliable, not environment-friendly, and not economical. It is a way of deceiving the public so as to avoid the controversy.” Greenpeace invites the Secretary for Environment for a public debate on the nuclear expansion.

The SAR government proposed in early September to greatly increase the share of nuclear power in Hong Kong’s energy supply. Yet the Environmental Protection Department has made no mention of this at the international meeting of C40 leaders, naming only green transportation, shipping, and building initiatives as Hong Kong’s chief solutions for reducing carbon emissions. Greenpeace’s protests call out the government’s false pretense of hiding its nuclear energy expansion behind energy-efficient measures, deceiving the world at an international level.

Vivian Lau  the Deputy Secretary for Environment, had personally misled the public earlier by saying that “Ninety percent of exhausted nuclear fuel can be recycled, after which countries like the US, Sweden, and Finland dispose of the waste using permanent, sealed storage.”, which however, such technology that can adequately treat nuclear waste does not exist. Secretary for Environment Edward Yau has also made even more speeches to conceal the truth from the public and purposefully avoid addressing the issues of nuclear safety, nuclear waste pollution, and cost.

The Environmental Protection Department’s proposal to expand nuclear energy has been announced for more than 50 days now, and there is only a month left in the public consultation period. Yet the government still has not come forward with the details of the expansion plan. The documents provided for the public are essentially empty of real substance.

Edward Yau has even previously said at the Hong Kong Youth Exchange Promotion United Association that they have not ruled out the possibility of constructing nuclear plants in Hong Kong. Greenpeace believes that the government has an obligation to disclose to the public all relevant details, including an estimation of the cost and assessments of safety and environmental impact. The complete consultation report should be made public as soon as possible.

At the same time, Greenpeace has provided an alternative strategy for reducing carbon emissions without increasing nuclear power to the Environmental Protection Department. It suggests that the SAR government consult with other cities at the forefront of climate action to increase energy efficiency, with the goal of reducing Hong Kong’s forecasted 2020 energy consumption by 25%. At the same time, the city should import wind power from Guangdong province. This will not only help citizens save electricity, but will also save us from a dangerous future of nuclear power.

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