Wed, May 20, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Referendum one option to help decide low-level nuclear waste sites: ministry

WASTE WATCHERS:Recent rules on storage sites for high-level nuclear waste are ‘completely irrelevant’ to the final selection, the Atomic Energy Council said

Staff writer, with CNA

There is a lot of time before a final selection is made for a high-level radioactive waste storage site, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday, adding that it would consider public opinions on the matter, with a referendum being a possibility.

Radioactive Waste Management Project Office director Lee Shiaw-tzong (李肖宗) said that the disposal of high-level radioactive waste is in line with a plan approved by the Atomic Energy Council in 2006 that is to be carried out in five stages.

The plan is now in the first stage, Lee said, adding that the final site is expected to be selected in 2038, with the facility to open in 2055.

Site selection would take into account the opinions of locals in “an appropriate way,” he said, adding that “a referendum will be one option.”

Other countries have used public opinion polls for such issues, he added.

On reports that an upcoming meeting on Kinmen between ranking officials across the Taiwan Strait could touch on sending low-level radioactive waste to China’s Gansu Province for storage, Lee said the issue would be only “an expression of the idea.”

If there is a consensus on the issue between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), then the ministry and state-owned Taiwan Power Co would continue to discuss the details, Lee said.

Meanwhile, a council spokesman said regulations concerning the selection of storage sites for high-level radioactive waste that were drawn up last month are “completely irrelevant” to the procedure for selecting the final site.

The regulations concern mainly technical factors, such as active faults, volcanoes and the geology of possible locations, the spokesman said.

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