Although it’s not usually difficult to find a concert in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) shopping district, yesterday was the first time several Aboriginal musicians gathered to sing in protest against the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility in Taitung.
The Taiwan Power Co (Taipower Co) announced in April that Daren Township (達仁) in Taitung County was one of two candidate locations for a nuclear waste storage facility.
As a vast majority of residents, county officials, councilors and political leaders from the other site in Wangan Township (望安), Penghu County, voiced strong opposition to the plan, many have come to believe that Daren — a traditional domain of the Paiwan tribe — will be selected.
Some of Daren’s residents, including the township mayor, support the plan, hoping that a promised NT$5 billion (US$151 million) payment would help resolve poverty, while others oppose it because of worries that such a facility would destroy the environment.
“We want more people to know about the issue and pay attention to it because a referendum on the nuclear-waste storage dump may be coming soon — we’re in a very critical situation,” said Panai, an Amis singer from Taitung who helped organize the concert.
In fact, Panai — who was nominated for a Golden Melody Award — also expressed her opposition to the nuclear waste facility during the award ceremony on Saturday.
The musicians, as well as anti-nuclear power activists, started the concert by holding a traditional Aboriginal circle dance. Many onlookers were invited to join in.
“Dear nuclear waste, dear nuclear waste, can you please not come to Taitung?” musician Daganaw sang in a song he wrote. “Dear nuclear waste, dear nuclear waste, do you know how horrible Taipower is?”
Icyang Ayita, a second-grade Paiwan boy from Daren, said he knew how horrible Taipower is.
“The place [selected to build the nuclear-waste storage site] is a huge and beautiful place — it’s really bad that they’re trying to build a dump there,” he said. “Taipower is really horrible. It tries to buy off villagers by giving them rice.”
Karoliese van Rooyen, from South Africa, signed a petition against the plan.
“I’m against nuclear power because it’s dangerous. If there’s a leak, it can harm a lot of people,” she said.