Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday proposed that the nation’s capital be relocated outside the “evacuation zone” in the 50km radius around operational nuclear power plants.
“Of the 211 nuclear power plants operating around the world, there are only six plants that have more than 3 million people living within 30km of them, and two of them are the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shihmen District (石門) and the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in the same city’s Wanli District (萬里),” Lin Shih-chia said.
If the yet to be completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮) — also in New Taipei City — goes into operation, then that would bring the number to three, she added.
Lin Shih-chia said that Greater Taipei is the political and financial center of Taiwan, and is also where the central government’s offices are located, so if a nuclear disaster occurred at the two operational plants, the officials at the National Rescue Command Center that are meant to direct the nation during an emergency would have to be evacuated too.
“Nuclear safety is national safety,” Lin Chia-lung said, adding that the storage of high-level radioactive waste inside the power plants means that the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫), which provides most of the water for the Greater Taipei area, is constantly under the threat of contamination from nuclear leaks or accidents.
He said that the nation’s government should take into consideration that after the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011, the Japanese government had decided to designate Osaka as its “backup” capital in the event that a major disaster crippled Tokyo.
The legislators said that if the government wants to continue pursuing its current nuclear policy, then it should consider amending the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法) to provide for relocating or planning to relocate the nation’s capital to Greater Taichung, because it is further away from the evacuation zones around the two operational and one under-construction nuclear plants in northern Taiwan and the operational Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County.
Taiwan Environmental Protection Union founder Shih Hsin-min (施信民) said that in both the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine and the Fukushima meltdown, the areas contaminated by radioactive fallout were larger than the officially designated evacuation zones. In addition, while hundreds of thousands of people had to be evacuated in both incidents, if such a disaster occurred in northern Taiwan, the number of evacuees would be in the millions, Shih said.