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Taipower mulling plan for nuclear waste treatment

2016/03/01 20:30:03

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 1 (CNA) The state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower, 台電) is studying the feasibility of building a nuclear waste storage facility on an uninhabited island near Taiwan after the first nuclear power plant is decommissioned, with the feasibility study report set to be submitted in September, Taipower spokesperson Lin Te-fu (林德福) said Tuesday.

The two reactors at the No. 1, or Shimen, nuclear power plant in New Taipei, are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2018 and 2019. Under a plan submitted in 2015 by Taipower for the decommissioning of the plant, the state-run company plans to allocate NT$18.2 billion (US$549.4 million) for the disposal of nuclear waste and the dismantling of the plant in the next 25 years, according to Lin.

Because the spent fuel pools at the first nuclear power are unable to store all the spent fuel rods produced in the plant's lifespan of 40 years, the rods are to be moved to a dry cask storage facility that is now being built as a midterm storage site at the plant.

In addition, another facility for the storage of low-level radioactive waste is also being built at the plant.

Noting that Taiwan's dry cask storage facilities are licensed for 40 years, Lin said that Taipower is evaluating the feasibility of building a large waste storage facility on an uninhabited island near Taiwan to avoid the nuclear power plant from becoming a nuclear waste storage site.

The company plans to store high-level radioactive waste in steel cylinders surrounded by concrete shells placed outdoors as a temporary solution until a permanent depository is constructed, according to Lin.

According to Taipower's Spent Nuclear Fuel Final Disposal Plan, which is now being evaluated, the final disposal site is to be decided by 2038 and ready for use by 2055.

(By Milly Lin and Evelyn Kao)