Ahead of a legislative plenary session to discuss funding requested by state-run enterprises, a coalition of civic groups yesterday rallied outside the legislature in Taipei to protest against Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) plan to reprocess nuclear waste overseas, for which the firm has issued an online call for bids and requested a budget of NT$11.25 billion (US$359.4 million).
Taipower late last year proposed a pilot project to send 1,200 fuel bundles from the Jinshan and Guosheng nuclear power plants in New Taipei City abroad for reprocessing.
Yesterday’s protesters included members of Green Citizens’ Action Alliance; Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan; and Taiwan Environmental Protection Union Northern Coast branch, who called on legislators to reject Taipower’s budget proposal.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Green Citizens’ Action Alliance researcher Hsu Shih-ya (徐詩雅) said the nation’s plan to manage nuclear waste has sparked international concern, which has caused her organization to be inundated with letters from international environmental groups and nuclear engineering associations.
Quoting French nuclear safety expert Yves Marignac, who gave a speech in Taipei about overseas nuclear waste reprocessing, she said that the international community stopped using the method for more than a decade ago.
According to Marignac, an advisor for the French Nuclear Safety Authority, the French parliament is reviewing a bill stipulating that reusable radioactive materials separated during reprocessing be treated as nuclear waste.
Under the law, all remnants of nuclear waste, including plutonium and uranium, generated by reprocessing firms must be shipped back to the waste’s country of origin, meaning that Taiwan would still have to store nuclear waste after it is reprocessed, Marignac said.
Hsu said that Taipower officials last week publicly admitted that the company has only contacted French nuclear-waste processing firm AREVA and has not yet initiated talks with French authorities about its plan.
She said history has shown that countries that rely on nuclear-waste reprocessing often face increasing costs from overseas service providers, which would entail a heavier financial burden than envisaged by Taipower.
An open letter delivered last week by the International Panel on Fissile Materials to the Executive Yuan last week, titled “Call for Taiwan Not to Send its Spent Fuel Abroad for Reprocessing,” echoed Marignac’s views that the Taipower plan would only delay nuclear-waste disposal.
“The solidified radioactive waste from reprocessing spent fuel would be returned to Taiwan after perhaps 20 years. The radioactive waste would be no less of a problem than the original spent fuel,” the letter said.
It says that within the context of Taiwan’s Agreement on Nuclear Cooperation with the US, Taipower could not take back the plutonium extracted from the spent fuel, as plutonium is used in the making of nuclear weapons.
Consequently, the company would have to pay a third party to dispose of plutonium separated during reprocessing, it said.
The letter was cosigned by former chair of the UK Government’s independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, Gordon MacKerron; former vice chair of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission Tatsujiro Suzuki; Marignac and Frank von Hippel, former assistant director for national security at the US’ White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of
ODD TIMING: Taiwan has called Chinese drills around the Taiwan Strait provocative and urged Beijing to focus on combating COVID-19 rather than harass its neighbor China yesterday accused the US of playing a dangerous game with its support for Taiwan, after a US warship passed through Taiwan Strait. China has been angered by the administration of US President Donald Trump stepping up support for the nation, such as through more arms sales, US patrols near Taiwan and last month’s visit to Washington by former premier and vice president-elect William Lai (賴清德). US Seventh Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Anthony Junco said the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Wednesday, in line with international law. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment