New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) and a coalition of environmental groups yesterday said that a referendum proposal opposing the government’s policy to phase out nuclear power by 2025 is unrealistic, given the lack of technologies and facilities for managing radioactive waste.
The referendum proposal received a boost on Friday last week, when former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) endorsed it and handed out petitions at Taipei Railway Station.
Ma said he supports using nuclear energy before it can be replaced by cleaner energy, adding that nuclear energy is a form of “green energy” and that managing radioactive waste is “not difficult.”
Anti-nuclear groups yesterday accused Ma of spreading incorrect information about nuclear energy and urged people to not support the referendum.
“Former president Ma should stop talking nonsense. His remarks that nuclear energy is a form of green energy and that radioactive waste management is not difficult are ridiculous,” Hsu told a news conference in Taipei.
There are no permanent storage facilities for radioactive waste, most of which is still stored in dry casks at the Guosheng and Jinshan nuclear power plants in New Taipei City, he said.
Ma should try and understand problems caused by radioactive waste and “stop spreading misleading information,” he added.
Around the world, there has not been a single successful depository for the permanent storage of high-level radioactive waste, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union chairman Liu Jyh-jian (劉志堅) said.
Even in the US, where there is plenty of land, spent fuel rods are stored at temporary facilities, he added.
“The government has no plans for the final disposal of radioactive waste, and transporting it to another country can be expensive and equally as difficult,” he said.
Ma’s remarks suggest that he is unaware of the costs and risks associated with nuclear energy, he added.
“Ma’s comment that managing radioactive waste is not difficult is an international joke,” Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said.
While certain nuclear energy advocates have cited recycling nuclear fuel rods as a solution, the process is not cost-effective, she said, adding that it is not a new technology and many nations have given up on it because of the high cost.
Ma should stop making irresponsible comments and realize that he partly caused the problem by failing to properly handle the issue during his presidency, Tsuei said.
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