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Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, Guangdong, China


Description:

Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station (“DBNPS”), which currently includes Guangdong Nuclear Power Station ("GNPS") and Lingao Nuclear Power Station ("LNPS"), is located at Daya Bay about 50 km north-east of the Hong Kong city centre.  About 70% of GNPS's electricity output is supplied to Hong Kong. The output of LNPS is entirely supplied to Guangdong Province.[1] According to HKNIC, the electricity produced by Daya Bay saves Hong Kong each year some 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, some ten thousands tonnes of sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, as well as hundreds of tonnes of airborne particulates that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel generation. Some additional 10% is also being imported from late 2014 to 2018 on a temporary basis.[2]

According to the Administration, GNPS comprises two French-designed pressurized water reactors which have an excellent safety record worldwide. Each reactor is protected by three barriers to prevent the release of radioactive material from the core. In addition, there are multiple protective systems. In the event of failure of one of the systems, there are multiple means for meeting the safety targets. The design of the pressurized water reactors at LNPS is similar to those at GNPS.[1]

The joint venture contract was signed in early 1985 following formal approval from both the Central Government in Beijing and the Hong Kong Government. The negotiation for the Daya Bay nuclear power station project coincided with the political negotiations between China and Britain over the future of Hong Kong – the 1997 issue. (The political negotiations commenced in September 1982 and concluded in late 1984). The Daya Bay project was seen at the time as a symbol of joint cooperation between the Chinese Government (the country's first nuclear power plant) and the British Government (GEC being a key equipment supplier) for the long-term (20-year contract between China Light Power and the Chinese partner) benefit of Hong Kong (secure and reliable power supply to Hong Kong at a relatively stable price).

Concerns over the nuclear project were heard during the negotiation phase but were limited to local environmental groups rather than the general public. The focus was more on the environmental and radiological impact of a nuclear power station than specific technical and safety issues. As for the general public, the project wasn't much of an issue ... until April 1986.[3]

As “the most controversial environmental issue in the 1980s”[4], the Anti-Daya Bay Nuclear Plant Campaign developed under the shadow of political uncertainty over Hong Kong’s Future and coincided with the drafting process of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR in 1986. The nuclear accident at Chernobyl in April 1986 also helped the mobilization by changing people’s views of nuclear energy.

At the beginning, there was a debate in the local media on the safety of and need for nuclear energy, and a generalized doubt over the PRC’s ability to manage a nuclear facility. The debate then quickly turned into a polarized and antagonistic process of politicization between the pro-Daya Bay camp, consisting of a strong coalition among the pro-PRC-Daya, conservative, and business interests on the one hand, and environmental NGOs, veteran social activists, and environmentally sensitive middle-class liberals on the other. Both camps were supported by their respective media and press institutions. [4]

Hong Kong legislators also visited nuclear sites in France, Austria, the United States and Japan in response to mounting disquiet in the island colony since the April 26 Soviet nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.[5] After their return, the two separate groups of Hong Kong's Legislative Councillors spent three weeks writing up a 200-page report in which they urged the Chinese authorities to take more stringent safety measures at Daya Bay, and suggested that a joint committee including participants from Hong Kong should monitor the operation of the plant. The report made it clear, however, that it was the Chinese government, not the Hong Kong government, which would take the final decision over construction at Daya Bay. The anti-Daya Bay press became further divided after the release of the report.[6]

The Chinese nuclear industry minister, Jiang said in one of his press conferences that, the Daya Bay site was chosen after careful geological study. For more than 1,000 years, he said, the area has had no earthquakes that would have measured 7 or more on the Richter scale. The Daya plant will be able to withstand quakes of 8 or more, he said. Such assurances have failed to quiet the Hong Kong opposition. Political groups, legislators and newspaper publishers continue to question whether the site is safe, whether the technology is fool-proof and whether Hong Kong residents could be evacuated fast enough in case of a disaster. So great has been the furor that nuclear safety issues have become enmeshed with the larger political questions about how much political autonomy and economic prosperity Hong Kong will have under Chinese rule.[7]

Under the leadership of a Joint Conference for Shelving the Daya Bay Nuclear Plant formed by 107 local pressure and community groups, the Anti-Daya Bay movement solicited more than one million signatures in a signature campaign. The Joint Conference was an amalgamation of most pressure and community groups developed in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, plus those elected officials eager to try out their mandated role as the people’s representative (elections for local level representative bodies, the District Board, and the Regional Councils were first held in 1985 and 1986). Though the million-strong signatures do not suggest active support for the Anti-Daya Bay campaign as the Chinese minister of nuclear industry, Jiang, rejected the petition that “The Chinese government will treat the matter with a scientific and practical attitude. It will not halt the Daya Bay project because of objections from some people”[8], they do indicate the breadth of the resentment over the project and an acceptance of the movement’s articulation of the issue.

A peculiar feature of the movement was that the core leaders in the Joint Conference were not strongly associated with established NGOs. Both CA (The Conservation Association) and the FoE (Friends of Earth) were members of the Joint Conference, and the latter’s spokesman, Reverend Fund Chi-wood, was a member of CA. Nevertheless, the Anti-Daya Bay movement was steered by other veteran pressure groups, such as the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee, the Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, and elected officials and community organizations. After the campaign, the leader of the anti-nuclear campaign retreated from high-profile environmental protests and turned to other rising, contentious social issues on the political agenda. In the late 1980s, the agenda of popular mobilizations was dominated by the issue of political liberalization. Yet the transient nature of the mobilizations in the Daya Bay case was evident when the protests eventually receded after the movement was counteracted by a corporate public relations campaign (The China Light & Power Co.) [3] and both the British colonial state and socialist Chinese state showed no sign of concession[9]. The Anti-Daya Bay campaign died down rapidly after the Guangdong Nuclear Power Plant Joint Venture Company and the (British and French) suppliers signed contracts for the plant. [4]

In 2010, it was reported that there are leaked traces of radioactive iodine into the surrounding cooling fluid, but no radiation escaped the building. The Hong Kong electric utility, CLP, said in a statement that the leak was small and fell below international standards requiring reporting as a safety issue.[10]

After the Japanese earthquake which triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, there were anti-nuclear marches around the world. On 12 June 2011, three months after the earthquake, there was a march in Hong Kong as well, with one hundred protesters. They first assembled in Tsim Sha Tsui to mourn the dead, and then marched at three o’clock. When passing by the post office, a representative, on behalf of the alliance Anti-Nuke, posted two letters to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan respectively, asking them to support the abolition of nuclear power and a nuclear-free zone in Asia. They eventually marched to the head office of the China Light and Power which is an equity holder of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant. The protestors demanded its nuclear power plants be stopped immediately. The representative read out a declaration, demanding that all nuclear power plants be shut down immediately.[11]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, Guangdong, China
Country:China
State or province:Guangdong
Location of conflict: Daya Bay in Longgang District, Shenzhen
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station (“DBNPS”), which currently includes Guangdong Nuclear Power Station ("GNPS") and Lingao Nuclear Power Station ("LNPS"), is located at Daya Bay about 50 km north-east of the Hong Kong city center.

The power station consists of two reactor units of French design Framatome 900 MWe class Pressurised Water Reactors.

Unit 1 and Unit 2 began commercial operation in February and May 1994 respectively.

The gross power output of each unit is 984 MWe.

The Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station is owned by Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company, Limited (GNPJVC). CLP is a 25% equity partner of GNPJVC through its 100% owned subsidiary, Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company Limited (HKNIC).

The Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station (Daya Bay) is managed and operated by the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations & Management Company, Limited (DNMC) in which CLP also has partial ownership (12.5% stakeholding) through a sister company of HKNIC.

CLP has nominated key managerial positions at Daya Bay and DNMC to contribute towards nuclear safety and to support the management of the facilities to international levels.

Daya Bay produces around 14 billion kWh of electricity per year, of which 70% is exported to CLP's Hong Kong system. In September 2009, the supply contract between Daya Bay and CLP was extended to 2034.

To ensure that more clean and cost-competitive energy is provided to Hong Kong, an agreement has been reached in securing a temporary additional supply of a small amount of nuclear from Daya Bay, to increase its electricity supply to Hong Kong from 70% to approximately 80% for late 2014 to 2018.

CLP: China Light & Power, CLP Holdings Ltd.

HKNIC: Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Co. Ltd. (wholly-owned subsidiary of CLP)

CLPNIC: CLP Nuclear Investment Co., Ltd. (wholly-owned subsidiary of CLP)

CGN: China General Nuclear Power Corporation

GNPJVC: Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co., Ltd.

GNIC: Guangdong Nuclear Investment Co., Ltd. (wholly-owned subsidiary of CGNPC)

DNMC: Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations & Management Co., Ltd.

GNPS: Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station

***Please refer to the offical website of CLP for the clear diagram about the holding structure of this project.

***For the amount of investment, there are different numbers, we are using the Baidu Baike data here. https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%A7%E4%BA%9A%E6%B9%BE%E6%A0%B8%E7%94%B5%E7%AB%99%E5%BB%BA%E8%AE%BE%E5%B7%A5%E7%A8%8B

Project area:1,000
Level of Investment:4,600,000,000.00
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:10 million
Start of the conflict:07/05/1986
Company names or state enterprises:China Light & Power (CLP) from Hong Kong SAR, China - CLP is a 25% equity partner of GNPJVC through its 100% owned subsidiary, Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Company Limited (HKNIC).
China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) from China
Areva (Areva) from France
General Electric US (GE) from United States of America - equipment supplier
Relevant government actors:-The Central Government of China
-Guangdong Provincial Government
-the Hong Kong Government
-中华人民共和国水利电力部 (中华人民共和国曾经设立的一个部级单位,后被撤销。它曾是中华人民共和国国务院下设的统筹规划管理全国水利电力工作的政府职能部门,国务院的组成机构之一。https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%AD%E5%8D%8E%E4%BA%BA%E6%B0%91%E5%85%B1%E5%92%8C%E5%9B%BD%E6%B0%B4%E5%88%A9%E7%94%B5%E5%8A%9B%E9%83%A8)
International and Finance InstitutionsHong Kong Nuclear Investment Company Limited (HKNIC ) from Hong Kong SAR, China
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-CA (The Conservation Association)
-FoE (Friends of Earth)
-the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
-the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee-
-the Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union
-the Hong Kong Federation of Students

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsradiation
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The protests eventually receded after the movement was counteracted by a corporate public relations campaign (The China Light & Power Co.) and both the British colonial state and socialist Chinese state showed no sign of concession. The Anti-Daya Bay campaign died down rapidly after the Guangdong Nuclear Power Plant Joint Venture Company and the (British and French) suppliers signed contracts for the plant. Still, this was perhaps the only case in Hong Kong where a major campaign of environmental protest was organized by a coalition of social groups with a strong grassroots element. In retrospect, the Anti-Daya Bay campaign successfully developed a sense of solidarity among the core leadership in the Joint Conference. It also contributed to the development of a sense of identity among Hong Kong people vis-a-vis the British colonial state and the PRC.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

[1] LC Paper No. CB(2)767/10-11(02) Panel on Security. Background brief prepared by the Legislative Council Secretariat for the special meeting on 17 January 2011. Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station Notification Mechanism
http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr10-11/english/panels/se/papers/se0117cb2-767-2-e.pdf

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[4] Yok-shiu, F. Lee, and Alvin Y. So. Asia's environmental movements: comparative perspectives. ME Sharpe, 1999. pp62-64
https://books.google.com/books?hl=zh-CN&lr=&id=CCdZHRTkFpAC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&ots=qXQTW6mQNK&sig=_mB0fLGPc6bqmM2LGNtmH_4Bazs

[3] The Unknown on the Doorstep: Hong Kong's fears concerning Daya Bay, China's first major nuclear power station and the Public Relations Challenges. By Albert Chan, Assistant Public Affairs Manager of Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Co Ltd.
http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/36/049/36049964.pdf

[9] 侯逸民. 反对兴建大亚湾核电站的浪潮及其宁息. Diss. 1991.
http://www.bulletin.cas.cn/ch/reader/create_pdf.aspx?file_no=19910106

[8] Michael C. Gallagher (1991) NUCLEAR POWER: Hong Kong fears Chinese Chernobyl, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 47:8, 9-46
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00963402.1991.11460016

[6] Yee, Herbert S., and Wong Yiu-Chung. "Hong Kong: the politics of the Daya Bay nuclear plant debate." International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 63.4 (1987): 617-630.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2619641

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[5] Debate on nuclear plant project heating up
https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/08/15/Debate-on-nuclear-plant-project-heating-up/6336524462400/

[7] China to Build Nuclear Power Plant Despite Hong Kong Safety Fears
http://articles.latimes.com/1986-09-22/news/mn-8648_1_nuclear-power-plant

[11] Anti-Nuclear Demonstrations in Hong Kong
http://www.worldlabour.org/eng/node/475

[2] HKNIC: About Daya Bay.
https://www.hknuclear.com/dayabay/about/pages/about.aspx

[10] Chinese Nuclear Plant Experienced a Small Leak Last Month, a Stakeholder Says
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/world/asia/16china.html

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Meta information

Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB
Last update02/11/2017

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