Saying that the compensation for damage caused by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan was way beyond what Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) or the Japanese government could afford, a Japan-based Taiwanese writer yesterday urged Taiwan to abandon all nuclear power.
Writer Liu Li-erh (劉黎兒), who has lived in Tokyo for 30 years, made the appeal at a press conference held at the legislature in the company of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇).
Tien said that, according to a Sept. 30 report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese government has asked TEPCO to pay out ￥4.54 trillion (US$58.4 billion) in compensation to the 150,000 residents living within 20km of the plant who were forced to evacuate within two years.
Having recently published a book against nuclear power, Liu said the president of TEPCO had remarked that nuclear power was actually a very expensive power source when compensation fees are calculated, and that a professor from the University of Tokyo has even estimated that it would cost up to ￥800 trillion, amounting to approximately 10 years of the national budget, if the soil and road surface of radiation-affected areas are to be cleaned up.
The damage is so much that the Japanese government would go well beyond bankruptcy, Liu said.
Noting that even Tokyo, which is more than 200km away from Fukushima Dai-ichi, was affected by the radiation, Liu expressed concern that there are about 6 million people living within 50km of the Jinshan and Guosheng nuclear power plants in New Taipei City (新北市), who would have nowhere to evacuate if an accident occurred.
Liu added that the disposal of used fuel rods is also an unsolvable problem for many countries. With 59,000 used rods in Japan and 15,000 in Taiwan, the governments could only continue to search for places to store them, but the amount of radiation from the used rods in Taiwan amount to the radioactive dust produced by about 230,000 atomic bombs, she said.
She said many people thought it was a waste of money to have spent NT$320 billion (US$10.6 billion) to construct the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City, and not allow it to operate, but it would actually cost twice that amount to retire the plant after it begins operations.
“There is no safety as long as nuclear power exists,” she said, urging the government to put a stop to nuclear power to avoid possible irreparable destruction.
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