Back to list

No end in sight to nuclear waste disposal problem: activists

2013/04/03 20:14:52

Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Anti-nuclear waste activists said Wednesday that they were pleased to see Premier Jiang Yi-huah's sincerity in trying to resolve the issue of nuclear waste disposal, but expressed regret that he could not give a precise date for the removal of the waste stored on Orchid Island.

In a meeting with Jiang at the Executive Yuan earlier in the day, the activists called for an end to the controversy over the disposal of nuclear waste from Taiwan's three operational nuclear power plants.

After the meeting, the activists told reporters that Jiang had given them several oral promises regarding the issue and they were glad to see his sincerity.

The premier promised, among other things, to institute regular meetings of Cabinet-level officials on nuclear waste issues and reactivate a Cabinet commission that was set up in 2002 to deal with the relocation of the nuclear waste dump on Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu, they said.

But although Jiang gave the assurance that Orchid Island off Taiwan's southeast coast will not remain a permanent nuclear waste storage site, he did not promise any immediate solutions, said Sinan Mavivo, secretary-general the Tao Foundation.

"This is regrettable," said the anti-nuclear activist, who is from Orchid Island, home of the Tao aboriginal tribe.

"I hope that after the commission has been reactivated, there will be a framework for us to discuss issues pertaining to relocation of the nuclear waste dump," she said.

The commission has been inactive in recent years because the government has been unable to identify an alternative site for the country's nuclear waste.

Another activist, Wang Chung-ming of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, said Jiang promised to do his best to find a permanent solution to the nuclear waste problem.

"But we do not believe he will do it," Wang said. "We do not believe that the problem of nuclear waste disposal will be resolved in the foreseeable future."

Although Jiang said the nuclear waste on Lanyu would not be left there indefinitely, an indefinite delay in moving it amounts to leaving it there forever, Wang added.

In the meeting with the representatives of anti-nuclear groups, Jiang expressed hopes for a breakthrough in the thorny problem during his term as premier, according to Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun.

Cheng said many anti-nuclear activists have appealed to the government to move the nuclear waste back to the three operational nuclear power plants in Taiwan, if an alternative dump cannot be found.

In response, Jiang has asked for more time to tackle the issue, Cheng said.

The premier also said Wuchiu on Kinmen Island and Daren in Taitung have been removed from a possible short list of nuclear waste disposal sites, according to Cheng.

Jiang hopes that the government and civic organizations can work together to fix the nuclear waste problem, which he described as a highly difficult challenge, Cheng said.

(By Zoe Wei, Kelven Huang and Elizabeth Hsu)
enditem /pc