Before meeting with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) in Taipei yesterday afternoon, members of local civic groups living near nuclear waste storage sites said that they are dissatisfied with the government’s unilateral decisionmaking process and urged it to have real negotiations with the public.
The groups — from New Taipei City (新北市), Lanyu (蘭嶼, also known as Orchid Island), and Taitung and Pintung counties — said in front of the Executive Yuan that during their first meeting with Jiang on April 3, he promised to establish a negotiation forum comprised of government and civic representatives to discuss policies for final disposal of radioactive spent fuel.
However, Taitung Anti-Nuclear Alliance Secretary-General Su Ya-ting (蘇雅婷) said there were no communications regarding the forum for several months afterward, and when the alliance finally received a notice for yesterday’s meeting, its agenda had already been set.
“We feel as if the government has already decided the policies and we are only being asked to come and endorse their plans,” Su said, while showing a copy of the meeting agenda.
“Moreover, while Minister Without Portfolio Steven Chen (陳士魁) was assigned as the forum’s convener, he has been transferred to another position, leaving us even more concerned about whether the forum can really function,” she added.
Sinan Mavivo, secretary-general of the Tao Foundation, said people living in Lanyu are very concerned about the low-level nuclear waste which has been stored on the island since 1981, but the Ministry of Economic Affairs has kept delaying its removal and refused to reconvene its steering committee for the Lanyu storage site’s relocation.
“We ask the government, Taiwan Power Co and the ministry to remove the nuclear waste immediately,” she said. “We don’t need them to talk about formulating a new schedule for relocation and related inspections; we just ask them to remove it now.”
Green Party Taiwan member Wang Chung-ming (王鐘銘) said the government has failed to finalize locations for building permanent nuclear waste repositories for the past seven years, but has kept using the matter as an excuse to postpone the promised removal of nuclear waste from Lanyu.
The party urged the government to decouple the two issues and deal with the Lanyu storage facility’s relocation immediately.
Northern Coast Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance chairperson Hsu Fu-hsiung (許富雄) said a dry cask storage facility for highly radioactive spent fuel waste from the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen District (石門), New Taipei City (新北市), is due to go into testing next month, but the alliance fears that salt corrosion may cause radioactive leaks because the storage site is near the ocean.
Although Taipower has claimed the site is only for temporary storage, local residents are concerned that once spent fuel rods are placed in storage, there may be no likelihood of Taipower moving them to a final disposal site, Hsu said. He added that residents should be allowed to decide whether they want the facility in the area via a referendum.
“It is a fact that disposal of nuclear waste is an intractable problem in Taiwan, so we want to tell the government that while the problem remains unresolved, it shouldn’t allow nuclear power plants to operate, as they are adding to disposal problems,” Wang said.
‘HIDDEN GEM’: The city earned plaudits for its low crime rate, world-class healthcare system, cheap cost of living and easy public transportation Taipei has been named the 10th best city in the world for quality of living in an annual survey by the editors of Monocle, a UK-based global affairs and lifestyle magazine. The survey, which is to be published in the magazine’s July/August issue, selected the world’s top 25 cities based on factors including cost of living, retail, hospitality, culture and access to green spaces, as well as feedback from Monocle correspondents. Taipei’s 10th place finish was one place down from a year earlier. The survey ranked Copenhagen as the world’s best city, with Zurich, Lisbon, Helsinki and Stockholm rounding out the top five.
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,
NO COMORBIDITIES: The girl died of encephalitis, the sixth COVID-19-related death of the disease this year and 19th death of a child from the virus, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 52,213 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and 171 deaths from the virus, including a four-year-old girl, who had been diagnosed with encephalitis, and a 19-year-old man, who had underlying health conditions. “The caseloads are usually higher on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but they [yesterday] fell 7.3 percent from the day before,” Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. Chuang, who is the CECC’s spokesman, said that most cities and counties reported a drop in new cases, and the CECC expects fewer than 50,000 new cases today. The center said that 150 of
LIMIT: The CECC has capped the number of weekly arrivals to 25,000, which critics said has limited the number of available flights and caused ticket prices to soar The government is not likely to raise the cap on the number of inbound travelers before the end of this month, despite the apparent effect on the number of inbound flights, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday last week eased quarantine rules for inbound travelers, who must undergo three days of home quarantine upon arrival and spend another four days in self-initiated disease prevention. It also capped the number of inbound travelers to 25,000 per week. The weekly limit has drawn criticism that it has limited the number of flights