Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday met with representatives of anti-nuclear civic groups at the Executive Yuan and agreed that Lanyu (蘭嶼) — also known as Orchid Island — would not become a final disposal site for nuclear waste.
However, the groups said doubts remain on the Cabinet’s plans for dealing with nuclear waste.
Prior to the meeting with Jiang, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Northern Coast Branch member Wang Chung-ming (王鐘銘) said that before discussing nuclear issues and the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), “the premier should face the ‘victims’ of nuclear waste and tackle the unsolvable problem of nuclear waste treatment first.”
Of the eight representatives that met with Jiang yesterday, two were from Lanyu, where barrels of low-level radioactive waste have been stored since 1982; two from Taiwan’s northern coast area, where two operating nuclear power plants with spent fuel pools are located and a new plant is being constructed; one each from Taitung County and Pingtung County, which, respectively, have been eyed as a location for a final repository and where another operating plant is located; and two from anti-nuclear environmental protection groups.
“It took us 30 years to meet with the premier, so we want him to promise to deal with the problem of nuclear waste on the island [Lanyu], or we will not give up until it is removed,” Lanyu’s Tao Foundation secretary-general Sinan Mavivo said.
Mavivo said the foundation wanted waste to be moved immediately, a promise that Lanyu will not become a final repository site, and a resumption of activities by a repository relocation committee.
The representatives also urged the government to award “victims” living near nuclear power and nuclear waste facilities compensation, rather than the limited “cash reward” that is given to the districts.
They also want a promise that Article 31 of the Aboriginal Basic Act (原住民族基本法), which stipulates the government should not store toxic materials in Aboriginal regions against the wishes of the local populations, will not be violated.
After a two-hour meeting with Jiang, the groups said they accept that he is willing to communicate and listen to their requests, but although he promised to meet some of their demands, they are still concerned about the lack of a clear timetable and explicit solutions for problems.
They said Jiang also agreed not to make Lanyu a final repository site, to establish a relocation committee convened by a minister without portfolio, to reconsider and discuss changing the name of cash rewards to compensation, and to investigate any illegal activity in the decision-making process for construction of the nuclear waste dump, building dry storage for spent fuel or giving out cash rewards.
However, Wang said Jiang has still not promised when nuclear waste would be removed from Lanyu, and although he promised to look for a site to build the final repository, the groups are not convinced that he will strive to find an appropriate site and that nuclear waste issues would be resolved in the near future.