Nowhere to go for Taiwan’s swelling nuclear waste
Taiwan's three operating nuclear power plants will soon run out of space to store nuclear waste, which could threaten their continued operation the Ministry of Audit (MOA) warned on Thursday.
Construction of a new storage facility for nuclear waste is far behind schedule and a site for storage of low-level radioactive waste has not even been confirmed, said the MOA, which noticed the problem while examining the government's spending on last year's budget.
The two storage facilities that collect nuclear waste from units one and two at Taiwan's first nuclear power plant, located in New Taipei's Shihmen Township, have reached 89.85 percent and 85.50 percent, respectively, of their capacity, the ministry said.
The storage for waste from the second unit in the country's second power plant in New Taipei's Wanli Township exceeds 70 percent of capacity, the agency said, adding that the rate for waste from unit 2 at the third plant has nearly reached 50 percent.
Taiwan's spent fuel dry storage facilities are still only in the planning stage and construction is not scheduled to start until April 2015 at the earliest. The island of Wuciou, which is closer to coast of China than Taiwan, and Daren in the south of Taiwan were announced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) last March to be possible sites for storage facilities for low-level radioactive waste.
The MOEA has since ruled out the possibility of building a facility in Wuciou due to various factors, including ecological and environmental reasons, while the Taitung county council has asked the county government to list part of Daren Township as a cultural preservation area to preserve the heritage of the Paiwan indigenous tribe.