Kinmen County's Wuqiu Township (Photo courtesy of Kao Tan-hua)
Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Local government chiefs of Keelung City and the offshore island counties of Kinmen, Lienchiang and Penghu expressed strong opposition on Monday in the wake of a media report that several uninhabited islands under their jurisdictions have been selected as candidate sites for the disposal of nuclear waste.
According to a front-page story in that day's edition of the United Daily News, a proposal submitted last year by state-run utility Taiwan Power Company about building a nuclear waste storage facility on an uninhabited island near Taiwan has gained approval from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Taipower has selected four candidate sites for the purpose, which are under the jurisdiction of Keelung, Kinmen, Lienchiang and Penghu, respectively.
Taipower, however, declined to confirm the story, saying that the two reports it has submitted to the Atomic Energy Council do not touch on the site issue.
Commenting on the matter, Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said he had not heard of any proposals to store nuclear waste on Keelung's offshore islands, which he said are surrounded by some of Taiwan's most important fishing grounds.
If the story were true, not only would fishermen oppose it, but the city government and all people in Taiwan would also be opposed to it, he said.
Penghu Magistrate Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復) said Penghu's uninhabited islands are named every time the issue of nuclear waste storage is raised, but he asserted that he will not let such a thing happen during his tenure.
Pointing out that Penghu has one of the most beautiful bays in the world and has strong tourism potential, he urged the central government to exclude Penghu from any selection procedures for a disposal site.
Kinmen Deputy Magistrate Wu Cherng-dean (吳成典) said the government and residents of Kinmen will steadfastly oppose any plans to store nuclear waste in Kinmen.
He also accused the central government of not doing enough to improve the well-being of Kinmen residents and of only thinking about Kinmen when looking for a site to store nuclear waste.
Lienchiang Magistrate Liu Cheng-ying (劉增應), meanwhile, said his county is focused on developing tourism and dismissed the media report as unfactual.
(By Sun Cheng-wu and Y.F. Low)