Local environmentalists are working with their overseas counterparts to persuade Taiwan's government not to export radioactive waste to Russia. \nTo highlight the unsolved problems of radioactive waste management, Kao Cheng-yen (高成炎), a Green Party Taiwan candidate for legislator, has organized a series of activities. These included an international seminar on nuclear waste management that was held yesterday in Taipei. \nForeign environmentalists attending the seminar came from Greenpeace International and Russia's Ecodefense as well as the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center and Green Action in Japan, and the South Korean Federation for the environment. \nEnvironmentalists say that rado-active waste management has been a big headache for many countries. \nRussia's decision in June to accept spent fuel rods with high levels of radioactivity from other countries -- reportedly including Taiwan -- has drawn attention from the international community. \nForeign environmentalists said yesterday that Taiwan's intention to export radioactive waste to Russia has created a negative image of Taiwan as a rogue country in the international community. They stressed that such waste should be treated domestically. \n"It's immoral to dump radioactive waste in other countries," said Tobias Muenchmeyer, a Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner. \nHe said diverse environmental groups have been campaigning since June in various countries, including South Korea and Taiwan, to abandon the idea of exporting radioactive waste. \nThe campaign to prevent Russia from becoming the world's nuclear waste dump will be highlighted next spring when victims living near the Mayak Reprocessing Plant in Russia will visit Asian countries, including Taiwan, to relate how have they suffered from the fuel-rod reprocessing industry. \nOn Sept. 29, 1957, a tank at the plant containing radioactive waste exploded, releasing several million curies of radioactivity into the atmosphere. \nThousands of square kilometers were polluted and thousands of people were resettled. Because of the explosion, comparable to the Chernobyl accident in 1984, a large amount of land near the plant is still contaminated. \nEcodefense's co-director, Vladimir Slivyak, said that even countries such as Russia had difficulties in dealing with radioactive waste. \nActivists from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union were critical that Taiwan has not come up with a plan to deal with an existing 200,000 barrels of low-level radioactive waste and nearly 3,000 tonnes of spent fuel rods. \nState-run Taipower (台電) is planning to build a final depository for low-level radioactive waste on the 0.6km2 Hsiaochiu Islet (小坵嶼), of Wuchiu township (烏坵) in Kinmen. An environmental impact assessment for the proposal is being evaluated. \nAdditionally, Taipower has signed a contract with a Russian research institute for a preliminary plan involving 5,000 barrels of low-level radioactive nuclear waste. Shipping the waste to Russia, however, has been held up by laws that ban the import of any nuclear waste. \nAs for a final depository for spent high-level fuel rods, the Atomic Energy Council will not decide a location until 2016 and a facility is not expected to be available until 2032. \nKao argued yesterday that a total halt to the operation of nuclear power plants was the only solution to the problem of dealing with radioactive waste. "Taiwan should stop producing such waste as early as possible," he said. \nKao will lead a team composed of local and foreign anti-nuclear activists on a visit to Taipower today to offer advice on the issue.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We