Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Activists protest nuclear waste

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

The Green Citizens’ Action Alliance and other environmental groups protest in front of the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei yesterday, calling on the government to shut down nuclear power plants until it finds a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste.

Photo: CNA

A dozen anti-nuclear activists protested in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) building in Taipei yesterday, accusing the government of having no solution for dealing with nuclear waste.

The protest occurred as an environmental impact assessment meeting was beginning at the EPA.

Thousands of anti-nuclear protesters clashed with police over nuclear waste issues in Germany on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that high-level radioactive waste could be disposed of outside of the country and that low-level radioactive waste could be disposed of in Taiwan, some within the plants and some in repositories, during a press conference on energy policy at the Presidential Office.

At yesterday’s second environmental impact assessment meeting on radioactive waste disposal policies, the Atomic Energy Council reported its strategies on nuclear waste storage, including putting the spent fuel rods in storage pools, land-based dry repositories and a final disposal site, while interim storage of spent fuel may include reprocessing abroad.

The protesters said the government was hiding the truth about the danger of both wet and dry storage of spent nuclear fuel by saying that the waste could be dealt with abroad, when actually the final disposal site might be in Taiwan.

They urged the government to halt operations at nuclear power plants to prevent the threat posed by an increasing number of nuclear fuel rods while no safe disposal site exists.

“There are two methods of disposal beyond our national borders. One is to dispose of the spent fuel at a final disposal site abroad, for which there is no precedent internationally,” Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said.

“The second is to ship the spent fuel abroad for reprocessing, meaning the uranium would be refined and recycled, but will still be shipped back to Taiwan,” Huang said. “It is irresponsible to say that we can dispose of the spent fuel beyond our national borders.”

The alliance said a feasibility study on the final disposal site would not be finished until 2037, but with the unstable geological conditions in Taiwan and possibly no safe disposal site abroad, it said it wondered where the large number of spent fuel rods would be stored.

“We suggest the government store spent fuel in the basement of the Presidential Office, to let -everyone know that it isn’t dangerous,” Gongliao Anti-nuclear Self-Help Association chairman Wu Wen-chang (吳文樟) said.

The protesting groups included the Green Party Taiwan, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, the Homemakers’ Union and Foundation, Taitung Anti-Nuclear, the Anti-Spent Fuel Association and several others.

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