Leak at Taishan Nuclear Power Station Near Macau Reported ‘Normal’

Posted on: June 14, 2021, 01:13h. 

Last updated on: June 14, 2021, 03:13h.

A French energy company is playing down the significance of a reported “leak” Monday at the Taishan nuclear power station in China’s Guangdong Province, 50 miles from Macau.

Taishan Nuclear Power Plant
The Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong province (pictured) is a joint enterprise between French energy company EDF and the Chinese government. (Image: SCMP)

Framatome, a subsidiary of French energy giant EDF, said in a statement to the AFP it was “supporting resolution of a performance issue” at the plant, which it co-owns with China’s state-owned nuclear energy group.

According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters,” the company added.

Previously, CNN reported the US government had spent the preceding week assessing the danger posed by the plant after Framatome had warned of an “imminent radiological threat.” That’s according to US officials and documents viewed by CNN.

The news service noted that it’s unusual that a foreign company would seek help from the US government when its Chinese partner had not even acknowledged there was a problem.

Framatome asked the US for a waiver that would allow the company to share American technical help to resolve the problem at Taishan.

Taishan Reactors ‘Operational’

On Sunday, the power plant published a statement on its website insisting that environmental readings for the plant and the surrounding area were “normal” and that its two nuclear reactors were “operational.”

“Since it was put into commercial operation, the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has strictly controlled the operation of the units in accordance with operating license documents and technical procedures.

“All operating indicators of the two units have met the requirements of nuclear safety regulations and power plant technical specifications,” read the statement.

Growth on Hold

The world’s biggest gambling hub has begun to bounce back from the economic slump caused by the pandemic, and can ill afford another health crisis on its doorstep.

A serious nuclear accident like the one that occurred at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011 would likely force the evacuation of people within a 25-mile radius because of high levels of radiation.

Environmental damage from nuclear contamination could last for years. A decade on from Fukushima, an 18-mile exclusion still exists around the power plant, which requires special authorization and protective clothing to enter.

Such an accident could devastate tourism to Macau in the near future and possibly long term.

Last week, the gambling hub was required to reinstate numerous restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus following outbreaks of the highly contagious “Delta variant” in Guangdong.

These include the requirement to present a negative Covid-19 test that has been completed in the past 48 hours for those entering Macau’s border gates via Guangdong. Those arriving from certain cities in the province must also quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days,

The new measures led analysts to revise their forecasts on the speed of Macau’s recovery.