The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said it hopes to finalize its decision on a site to build centralized low-level nuclear waste storage this year.
“We expect to complete the investigation two months after Taiwan Power Co [Taipower, 台電] proposed the revised feasibility report [for nuclear waste storage] again,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) told a news conference yesterday, adding that the ministry rejected a report by Taipower last year.
Centralized low-level nuclear waste storage is a temporary measure which needs to be approved by the Cabinet, Yang said.
The temporary storage plan for low-level nuclear waste would not require a referendum, he added.
Yang made the remarks after the Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday reported that the government has selected four candidate sites, citing a feasibility report by Taipower.
The feasibility report showed that possible sites include several uninhabited islands near Keelung as well as Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu counties, the newspaper said.
Local governments mentioned in the Taipower report voiced strong disapproval of building the facilities near their cities.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs declined to confirm the details of the potential storage sites.
Meanwhile, Taipower is also working on two nuclear-free projects, aiming to build a permanent radioactive waste storage facility and to relocate nuclear waste on Orchid Island (蘭嶼, Lanyu).
Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu (林德福) yesterday said that the company has submitted the two project proposals to the Atomic Energy Council, adding that reviews are scheduled to be finished tomorrow.
The two reports only provide assessments for nuclear waste disposal and do not suggest exact locations, Lin said.
Last year, the Cabinet established an independent agency to take over low-level radioactive waste management from Taipower, hoping to form a social consensus and to ensure transparency in the process of site selection.
The Cabinet-level agency is part of the government’s moves to decommission Taiwan’s three active nuclear power plants by 2025 and to mothball the still unfinished Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
The government also pledged to transfer nuclear waste from Orchid Island.
The storage site on Orchid Island began operations in 1982 and stopped receiving nuclear waste in 1996.
Nearly 100,000 barrels of nuclear waste are stored on the island, which has 5,000 residents, local media reported.