Tue, Mar 06, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Nuclear waste storage site to be decided by year-end

OPEN MIND:Taipower said it would on the government’s recommendation consider all regions in its search for a place to store waste from decommissioned nuclear plants

Staff writer, with CNA

The Atomic Energy Council in a directive on Sunday stipulated that state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) must consult with residents on any plans to build a nuclear waste facility in their neighborhood.

In its search for a nuclear waste disposal site, Taipower should consider “all areas in Taiwan, including the outlying islands,” and should not limit its options to scarcely populated or uninhabited islands, the council said in a statement.

When the utility identifies a potentially suitable site, it should communicate with people in the area and respect their rights, interests and views on the proposal to build such a facility close to their homes, the council said.

The directive came on the heels of a statement by Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森), who is in charge of the government’s nuclear-free policy.

Discussions on the issue of picking a provisional nuclear waste storage site in the country are to be initiated this month, Chang said on Saturday.

A safe location is required to store nuclear waste from the aging Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) for 40 to 50 years after it is decommissioned, a process that is scheduled to be carried out over a six-month period starting in December, Chang said.

In a number of countries the storage sites of decommissioned nuclear plants are located near the plants or in industrial areas, Chang said, adding that the government would decide one way or another by the end of the year.

With the nuclear waste storage facilities at two of Taiwan’s three operating nuclear power plants approaching full capacity, Taipower has proposed building a new storage site that would take up 26 hectares and would last for at least 100 years, although only about 40 years of storage would be required.

The proposal has been submitted to the Cabinet for approval, Taipower head of nuclear backend operations Chang Hsueh-chih (張學植) said on Saturday, adding that the company has not identified a suitable site yet.

In choosing a site, Taipower would follow the council’s regulations, which specify that a nuclear waste storage facility cannot be built in an area where there are geological or environmental issues, he said, adding that, with the exception of such locations, the whole of Taiwan and its outlying islands would be considered.

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