Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Official welcomes China talks over nuclear waste

DISPOSAL The Atomic Energy Council chairman also said that Taiwan's three active power plants produced 259 barrels of low-level radioactive waste last year

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Chairman Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said yesterday that he would be willing to visit China for talks on Taiwan's search for low-level radioactive waste disposal sites, if he is given an opportunity.

Fielding questions in the Legislative Yuan, Tsai said he would go to China to discuss the matter if such disposal sites, skilled personnel and nuclear waste management expertise were available there.

Tsai said, however, that for safety reasons there must be at least one location in Taiwan for the disposal of nuclear waste.

The AEC head made the remarks in response to questions raised by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party legislators on issues pertaining to reducing carbon dioxide emissions while maintaining economic growth.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) asked Tsai whether nuclear power output should be increased, since reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the centerpiece of the KMT administration’s energy policy. Lai cited France as a prime example of the use of nuclear power to help reduce greenhouse gases.

Tsai stopped short of giving a direct answer, saying only that nuclear power and carbon dioxide reduction are two issues that should be considered under the broader perspective of the country’s overall energy policy.

Noting that Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), immediately after taking office on May 20, expressed the hope that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant be completed on time or even ahead of schedule, Lai said that the handling and management of low-level radioactive waste had therefore become crucial.

Lai asked Tsai whether he would be willing to contact China over nuclear waste disposal.

In his report to the legislature, Tsai said storing low-level radioactive waste abroad could be feasible, but only if the recipient side were willing and capable.

Tsai also mentioned that the three nuclear power plants currently in operation in Taiwan produced 259 barrels of low-level radioactive waste last year, representing a year-on-year decline of 21 percent from 2006.

Meanwhile, he said, Taiwan Power Co has chosen eight possible sites — Wang’an Township (望安) in Penghu and seven others in Taiwan proper, including Mudan Township (牡丹) in Pingtung County and Daren (達仁) and Dawu (大武) townships in Taitung — to build storage sites for low-level nuclear waste.

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