Low-level Radioactive Waste Storage Facility opens
The Low-level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Storage Facility at Siu A Chau - the first of its kind in Hong Kong - is officially opened today (June 24).
Officiating at the opening ceremony, the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, said that the new facility was purpose built to meet the stringent international standards for the safe storage of low-level radioactive waste.
The newly-commissioned facility - developed under a "design, build and operate" contract arrangement - blends well with the surrounding environment.
At a capital cost of $78 million, it comprises a main storage vault, an automatic control room, a fully equipped laboratory and specially designed waste reception and processing areas. All the operational data are continuously monitored and controlled by real time, round-the-clock surveillance systems from a Remote Control Centre located at the city centre.
With a capacity to provide storage for LLRW arising for the next 100 years, it provides a long-term, safe and sustainable way of storing the waste.
LLRW generated in the territory is mainly consisted of smoke detector parts, luminous watch dials and hands, lightning protection conductor heads and weakened sources from hospitals and education institutions.
Despite the fact that the annual generation of LLRW in Hong Kong is still on a low side, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department called on the parties to minimise the generation of LLRW and producers to take up the responsibility of managing such waste as far as possible.
Medical institutions and scientific researches should use radioactive substances of shorter half-life in order to reduce LLRW.
The LLRW previously stored in the disused tunnels at Queen's Road East in Wan Chai was removed and transferred to the state-of-the-art facility in a series of operations last year.
Also officiating at today's opening ceremony were Acting Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Environment), Dr Michael Chiu Tak-lun; Director of Health, Dr Lam Ping-yan; Legislative Councilor, Miss Choy So-yuk; Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Environment, Professor Lam Kin-che; Principal of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, Mr Tam Siu-ping; Managing Director of ATAL Engineering Ltd, Mr Otto Poon; and General Manager of Belgoprocess, Mr Jef Claes.
Ends/Saturday, June 24, 2006