Dispute over Radioactive Waste on Orchid Island Will Not Be Solved Before 2021

Dispute over Radioactive Waste on Orchid Island Will Not Be Solved Before 2021
What you need to know

Plans were once made to ship the low-level radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island to North Korea, but later changed the plan to seeking other locations within the country. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has ratified two possible locations in 2012, but because of the disapproval of local governments, the referendum has yet to be held.

Listen
powered by Cyberon

The News Lens international edition is sponsored by Tutor A B C
Where the low-level radioactive waste that is currently stored on Orchid Island has always been an issue for Taiwan. Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-hong says the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has not given up the option of cooperating with China. They also don’t exclude the possibility of transporting the radioactive waste back to the island’s three nuclear power plants or to store them on an uninhabited island.

Liberty Times reports, low-level radioactive waste are the clothes, gloves and components that have been exposed to radioactive substances. For the disposal of radioactive waste, legislator Kong Wen-ji asks the AEC to announce the time schedule of removing radioactive waste from Orchid Island. Kong also believes that AEC should urge Taipower to handle the problem.

Plans were once made to ship the low-level radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island to North Korea, but later changed the plan to seeking other locations within the country. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has ratified two possible locations in 2012, but because of the disapproval of local governments, the referendum has yet to be held.

Tsai says, Taipower promised that local governments would hold a referendum next year and if it goes smoothly, constructions and the relocation will be completed five years after the referendum.

Apple Daily reports, Tsai also says that last year AEC sent letters to Taipower many times informing them that if Taipower cannot promise to make the relocation, they will be fined. If everything goes well, the radioactive waste will be moved out of Orchid Island before 2021. If the new storing location cannot be decided by next year, Taipower will be fined up to NT$ 50 million (approximately US$ 1.5 million) per year.

UDN reports, Kong asks that if the referendum fails, what are the alternatives for the disposal of the radioactive waste? Tsai responds that Taipower may refer to the experiences of the Netherlands and Switzerland to open a concentrated storage site and follow the example of Hong Kong to find an uninhabited island to store the waste.

CNA reports, it is worth noting that Tsai says Taipower has yet to give up to cooperating with China for low-level radioactive waste disposal, but the progress of this plan is unclear. Meanwhile, Taipower will evaluate the possibility to move low-level radioactive waste back to the main island’s three nuclear power plants, but the two options mentioned above involve cross-strait relations and the will of the local people, so they still need to be carefully evaluated.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources: