Experts said legislation on nuclear waste policy is the first step to realize an overdue promise to relocate low-level radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), as issues of radioactive waste took center stage at a panel discussion at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
The panel, held ahead of an annual anti-nuclear parade on Saturday, was hosted by the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform to mark the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster and the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said nuclear waste treatment is at the heart of this year’s anti-nuclear campaign, because there is still no consensus on the issue between major parties and the public, even though years of campaigning have resulted in growing support for nuclear-free development and the sealing of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮).
Photo: Yang Mian-chieh, Taipei Times
Orchid Island-based Tao Foundation chief executive Sinan Mavivo said Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has continued to illegally run a nuclear waste depository on the island long after the expiration of a lease between the company and the Lanyu Township Office.
Island residents began to demand relocation of the site in 1991, and in 1999, when former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was still a presidential candidate, a promise was made to complete the relocation by 2002, but nuclear waste has remained there and authorities have not taken any action, Mavivo said.
“Removing nuclear waste from Orchid Island will not be accomplished unless the Legislative Yuan passes the necessary laws and establishes a removal budget. Anything else is fake,” Mavivo said.
Following requests to conduct a health inspection of island residents, the Ministry of Health and Welfare allocated a NT$64 million (US$1.95 million) budget, which was later used to fund epidemiology research, but no residents have received a health examination funded with the ministry’s money, she said.
“It is as if Orchid Island has become a cash machine, and the money is shared between the Taiwanese government and its research agencies,” she said, asking the legislature to pass a compensation bill and to establish healthcare and tracking programs.
Tokyo-based Taiwanese writer Liu Li-erh (劉黎兒) said more than 300,000 people were evacuated from Fukushima when the disaster happened, and there are 100,000 people who refuse to return to the prefecture due to doubts over the effectiveness of a government-funded decontamination program, even after trillions of yen have been spent on cleanup.
Taipower has underestimated the cost of radioactive waste management, as a bundle of spent fuel rods costs tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars, and there would be 23,000 used fuel rods that require storage in 2025 when the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County is scheduled for deactivation, she said, calling for an earlier decommissioning of nuclear plants before a disaster occurs.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up