Taipower told to consult public on potential nuclear waste site

Taipei, Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) on Sunday issued a directive for the country's main power supplier to consult with residents on any plans to build a nuclear waste facility in their neighborhood.

Furthermore, in its search for a nuclear waste disposal site, the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) should look at "all areas in Taiwan, including the outlying islands," and should not limit its options to scantly populated or uninhabited islands, the AEC said in a statement.

When Taipower identifies a potentially suitable site, it should communicate with the people in the area and respect their rights, interests and views on the proposal to build such a facility close to their homes, the AEC said.

The AEC directive came on the heels of a statement by a Cabinet official in charge of the government's nuclear-free policy, who said Saturday that discussions on the issue of picking a provisional nuclear waste storage site in the country will be held this month.

A safe location is required for 40-50 years to store the nuclear waste from the aging First Nuclear Power Plant when it is decommissioned, a process that is scheduled to be carried out over a six-month period starting in December, said Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (???).

Noting that in some countries the storage sites of decommissioned nuclear plants are either located near the plants or in an industrial area, Chang said Taiwan will decide one way or another by the end of the year.

With the nuclear waste storage facilities at two of Taiwan's three operating nuclear power plants approaching full capacity, Taipower is proposing to build a new storage site that would be spread over 26 hectares and would last for at least 100 years, although only about 40 years of storage would be required.

The proposal has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval, Chang Hsueh-chih (???), chief of nuclear backend operations at Taipower said Saturday, although the company has not yet identified a suitable site.

He said that in choosing a site, Taipower will follow the AEC's normal regulations, which specify that a nuclear waste storage facility cannot be built in an area where there are geological or environmental issues.

With the exception of such locations, the whole of Taiwan and its outlying islands will be under consideration, Chang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel