Tue, Nov 14, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Search for site for nation's nuclear waste continues

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has not given up the hope of storing its nuclear waste overseas but the matter will not be easily settled as political factors will be involved, Taipower vice president Hsu Hwai-chiung (徐懷瓊) told a legislative committee that is reviewing several funds under the jurisdiction of Taipower.

Independent Legislator Li Ao (李敖) claimed that "some" have advocated putting the issue of the final disposal location of nuclear waste to a national referendum, but said this is a dangerous idea.

"Taipower should face the matter squarely, and argue with its professional knowledge," Li said.

"It should tell the people and government that the issues of the fourth nuclear power plant and nuclear power waste are right before them. If the issues are not resolved, Taiwan will have no peace," Li said.

He said the nation has tried to store nuclear waste in North Korea without success because in accordance with international norms nuclear waste can only be stored in one's own country.

Li said the Constitution still enshrines the "one China" principle and that if he were commissioned to represent Taiwan in negotiations with Beijing, he would push to store Taipower's nuclear waste in northwest China.

He also inquired about the losses incurred from the suspension of the fourth nuclear power plant in late 2000 and the resumption of the construction early the following year.

Hsu said direct losses stood at more than NT$3 billion (US$90.9 million), although Lee claimed that the losses could hit NT$350 billion according to an estimate by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei.

Taipower officials have said there are 97,672 barrels of low-level radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island and that they are hoping to complete repacking operations by 2010 before sending it to a final disposal destination.

Taipower has estimated that the Executive Yuan will decide on the final disposal location by 2011 and that construction of the site will be completed by 2016.

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