Nuclear power plants running out of space for waste - Taipei Times
Sat, Jul 30, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Nuclear power plants running out of space for waste

Staff Writer, with CNA

The nation’s three operating nuclear power plants will soon run out of space to store nuclear waste, the Ministry of Audit said yesterday.

Construction of a new nuclear waste storage facility is behind schedule and a site for the storage of low-level radioactive waste has not even been confirmed, the ministry said. The ministry said it noticed the problem while examining government spending last year.

The two storage facilities that collect nuclear waste from units one and two at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen Township (石門), New Taipei City (新北市), have reached 89.85 percent and 85.50 percent of their capacity respectively, the ministry said.

The storage facility for waste from the second unit at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli Township (萬里) has exceeded 70 percent of its capacity, the agency said, adding that storage facility for waste from the second unit at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Ma-anshan (馬鞍山), Pingtung County, has nearly reached 50 percent capacity.

Spent fuel dry storage facilities are still only in the planning stage and construction is not scheduled to start until April 2015 at the earliest, the ministry said.

The ministry said the storage capacity for waste at the first plant was close to its limit and that the situation could threaten the plant’s continued operation.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in March that Wuciou island (烏坵), Kinmen County, and Daren Township (達仁), Taitung County, were possible sites for storage facilities for low-level radioactive waste.

However, the MOEA has since ruled out the possibility of building a facility in Wuciou -because of -various factors, including -ecological and environmental reasons, while the Taitung County Government has been asked list part of Daren as a cultural preservation area to preserve the heritage of the Paiwan tribe.

The Ministry of Audit said the MOEA should look for a new site in order not to delay the construction of the facilities even further.

The auditing authority also found that the budget for the yet-to-be-completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City, has increased from NT$169.73 billion (US$5.88 billion) to NT$273.65 billion.

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