Sweden, Finland models for nuclear waste storage: Ma

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - Page 4

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that the success Sweden and Finland have had in finding permanent storage sites for their nuclear waste means that the countries could serve as a model for Taiwan’s nuclear industry.

Ma said that finding a place to store the nation’s radioactive waste is a problem because whatever site is chosen is always met with opposition from anti-nuclear activists and local residents.

Sweden and Finland are expected to complete building underground repositories for storing their radioactive waste in 2027 and 2022 respectively, the president said.

In Sweden, the choice of Osthammar as the storage location obtained the support of more than 80 percent of local residents, he said.

“We very much hope to learn from Sweden’s and Finland’s experiences,” Ma said as he received several experts from the two Nordic countries who are visiting Taiwan to attend a conference on radioactive waste disposal.

In the 1980s, Sweden voted in a referendum to shut down all of its nuclear reactors. However, the country has since reversed course and is now planning to build new reactors.

Ma said he was told that the Swedish government has been very successful in communicating with the Swedish public, the majority of whom think that Sweden needs nuclear energy to meet its economic development needs.

In the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan, Taiwan set a goal of gradually phasing out its use of nuclear power.

However, Ma said that until this goal is achieved, the nation must find an alternative to atomic energy, which currently accounts for 18.4 percent of its total electricity.