New Taipei mayor calls for nuclear waste final site solution

New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu

Taipei, Dec. 7 (CNA) New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) on Thursday called for a coordinated effort to locate a final site for the disposal of nuclear waste from the first nuclear power plant in the city, noting that decommissioning cannot take place before an environmental impact assessment is conducted.

Chu said the central and local government as well as the ruling and opposition political parties need to work out a solution for the disposal of nuclear waste from the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in the city. Decommissioning was scheduled to start on Wednesday, but could not because of administrative problems.

Chu made the remarks after saying on Wednesday that nuclear waste should never be stored in a heavily populated city.

Under Taiwanese law, Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) is required to file a decommissioning application and begin an environmental impact assessment (EIA) by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) three years before such a facility permanently stops operations. However, Taipower has not received a permit from the EPA.

Chu said that the EPA has to first complete its final environmental assessment review.

Moreover, Taipower has not received a permit from New Taipei City government to construct an outdoor storage facility at the plant for the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel because its construction plan for the site failed to meet the city’s soil and water conservation requirements, Chu added.

Chu also asked Taipower to explain to the public why nuclear waste should be stored at an outdoor facility rather than an indoor one due for safety.

Meanwhile, Liu Ho-jan (劉和然), director of the city’s Environmental Protection Department, said the city government supports decommissioning the nuclear power plant but wants Taipower to revise its decommissioning plans and secure an EPA permit as soon as possible.

Liu said the city hopes the problem of nuclear safety can be resolved before discussing issues related to the decommissioning of the nuclear plant and that the city should under no circumstance be the final site for nuclear waste disposal.

In addition, the EPA’s environmental impact assessment committee on Thursday held a review meeting on the decommissioning of the nuclear plant and asked Taipower to submit supplementary documents for a review at its next meeting.