Tue, Oct 27, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Application for nuclear storage on hold

SAFETY FIRST:New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi said that ensuring the safety of residents is more important than building a facility to store spent fuel rods

By Chen Wei-tsung, Lai Hsiao-tung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A model of a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel for the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District seen in this undated photograph provided by the Atomic Energy Council.

Photo: Courtesy of the Atomic Energy Council

Citing concerns over security measures, the New Taipei City Government yesterday said it is holding on to Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) application to build a dry-storage facility to store spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants.

According to a report published yesterday in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, Taipower’s application to set up a dry-storage facility for spent fuel rods from the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) and the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Wanli District (萬里) faces further scrutiny.

The city government said that there could be no nuclear power without nuclear safety, the report said, adding that the city government has returned the application’s environmental conservation reports on concerns over security and the facility’s resistance to seismic activity.

However, the Council of Agriculture (COA) recently approved the environmental conservation plans for the facility.

If the application is approved by the Executive Yuan, the facility would commence operations in two years’ time, becoming the nation’s first dry-storage facility.

New Taipei City Government spokesperson Lin Chieh-you (林芥佑) yesterday said the municipality protested using New Taipei City as a location for the storage of nuclear waste.

The municipality’s residents have concerns over their health and safety, and would not support the setting up of a dry-storage facility, Lin said.

Plans for the facility as well as the presence of the power plants themselves have led to safety concerns among residents along the northern coast, New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said.

“The city government understands that there is an urgent need for the facility, but there can be no action as long as the safety of our residents cannot be guaranteed,” Hou said.

New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) said the city government is in negotiations with the COA for a larger role in the decisionmaking process, adding that no decision by the central government would be acted upon without the local government’s consent.

Meanwhile, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the attitudes of both the central and local governments highlighted the controversy surrounding the handling of nuclear waste, adding that Taipower should assess the viability of other options and begin negotiations on long-term nuclear waste treatment with the parties concerned.

Additional reporting by CNA

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