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Joint Statement of the 2019 No Nukes Asia Forum ‒ Taiwan

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

On Sept. 21-25, 2019, we held 2019 No Nukes Asia Forum – Taiwan. After 5 day's discussion and visiting, we reached the conclusions and declarations stated below.

Ⅰ. From our long experience and from our discussions in this forum, we have come to the following realizations of the current situation:

  • Nuclear power is not a wise choice for humanity. It destroys the land and health of this and innumerable future generations. The urgent transition to renewable energy sources is the only credible response to the climate emergency. This transition must be done without causing any harm to Indigenous communities.
  • Nuclear power is not a clean, safe, affordable or renewable energy source. It cannot be accepted as a response to climate change simply because it has lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels. It must be considered within the life span of nuclear chain. Beginning form uranium mining to nuclear waste processing and storage, including nuclear power plant construction and fuel processing carbon emission steps should be calculated as a whole. Furthermore, it releases radioisotopes and waste heat and generates radioactive wastes.
  • Nuclear power cannot be an energy solution while it is insoluble with its nuclear waste issue and climate crisis makes it more risky because of uncertain access to cooling water. We cannot accept to use our planet's precious water to cool nuclear power plants while the world itself will be experiencing droughts and disasters.
  • Nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and chemical weapons are closely entwined; they are a massive threat to the environment and to world peace.
  • Indigenous and minority peoples, especially those who live in remote areas and who often have little political power or voice - have long been the victims of radiation contamination from mining, nuclear weapons testing, nuclear power plant operation, and nuclear waste disposal – as seen in Australia, Taiwan, China, India, U.S.A., and the South Pacific. The myth of "economic development" cannot morally justify destruction and death for a minority. Expropriation and contamination of their land must be recognized as both cultural and physical genocide, and rectified not just with monetary compensation, but with restoration of their land rights, improving radiation monitoring, access to health services and comprehensive rehabilitation of the land.
  • Many nuclear reactors are now approaching the end of their operational life. This poses serious challenges, including decommissioning, land cleanup, radiation testing, and management of nuclear waste (including so-called temporary storage), must all be subject to rigorous and ongoing independent monitoring.
  • Nuclear energy is shrinking in developed countries, while in China, India and other developing countries new plants are being planned and constructed, often under authoritarian governments that readily cover up technical shortcomings. Despite the experience of Fukushima, some countries are planning to restart inactive reactors and revive designs for plants that were shelved. The continued operation of older reactors brings them into a stage of higher risk.
  • We need energy democracy. This can be built by improving the transparency of media, government and industry; promoting communication in society; allowing sufficient time and place for education and debate on policy. In citizens' electoral or voting processes, there must be complete disclosure of information, including conflict of interest.

Ⅱ. To meet this situation, we must learn from each other and cooperate with each other, closely share information, and continue joint actions to support the anti-nuclear movements of all countries. The further task is to stimulate citizens and local communities to develop and utilize green renewable energy, with the ultimate goal of a future that is a nuclear-free Asia and nuclear-free earth. Specific actions to be taken at this time are as follows:

  • Urge all Asian countries to support, sign and ratify the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  • Contest the nuclear industry and countries exporting their nuclear plants and technology in order to make a profit from harming the planet and its people.
  • Urge IAEA to take responsibility to guide and to convince the countries especially which are very well known with their fault lines, such as India, Taiwan and Turkey, to stop their nuclear projects by learning from lessons such as of earthquake and consequences of Fukushima nuclear disaster.
  • Urge all parties and governments to acknowledge, support and compensate the victims of radiation contamination from uranium mining, radioactive waste dumping and nuclear testing, including those in Australia, India, South Pacific, China, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, and Japan.
  • Urge the people of Taiwan to participate in signing the petition for a referendum on "Abolish Nuclear, Get Renewable". The uncompleted Nuclear Power Plant No. 4 must be fully dismantled while it is still not radioactive. The site should be transformed to renewable energy generation and/or local needs. For the nuclear power plants that must be decommissioned in the near future, nuclear waste must be dealt with responsibly. Burning of low-level nuclear waste should be stopped, and the nuclear waste dump should be removed from Orchid Island.
  • We reject the new ICRP draft on radiological protection. Its revision of reference levels for exposure doses suggests that staying in place after an accident poses a lower radiological risk than evacuating.
  • We condemn the verdict of the Tokyo District Court, which found three former TEPCO executives not guilty in the criminal lawsuit concerning the Fukushima nuclear accident. We declare our support for the victims of the Fukushima NPP accident.
  • We acknowledge that 2020 will be a significant year in Japanese nuclear-free politics with the hosting of the summer Olympics and the 75th anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The true ideals of the Olympic spirit must not be subverted for partisan or propaganda use to distract from the continuing and unresolved human and environmental impacts of the Fukushima crisis.

For more information on the No Nukes Asia Forum and Taiwan's nuclear debate, see:


Vice President Chen reiterates government's commitment to nuclear-free Taiwan

Vice President Chen Chien-jen said Sept. 23 that the government remains committed to phasing out the use of nuclear power by 2025. At the reception held at the Presidential Office for delegates who had attended the No Nukes Asia Forum (NNAF), Chen said that the government has launched numerous energy transformation policies in recent years, such as promoting renewables and allowing existing nuclear power plants to come to the end of their lifetimes. This progress makes the country an ideal location for the NNAF, he added.

Chen's remarks came while receiving representatives and academic scholars from Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and the U.S.

According to Chen, the government recognizes the importance of listening to different voices in society given the strong opinions on both sides of the nuclear power debate. To achieve sustainable development and ensure the people's safety, however, the use of atomic energy must be phased out, he said.

Founded in 1993, the NNAF is an annual gathering that brings together experts and academics from various groups across Asia to discuss and share their visions on how to end the use of nuclear energy.

Reprinted from: Taiwan Today, 24 Sept 2019, 'VP Chen reiterates government's commitment to nuclear-free Taiwan',

Nuclear News - Nuclear Monitor #870 - 19 December 2018

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Taiwan's goal to become nuclear free remains unchanged: President Tsai

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said her administration's goal of making Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland remains unchanged, despite the November 24 referendum which saw 59% of voters calling on the government to abandon the 2025 deadline for the closure of all power reactors.1

President Tsai said the goal of phasing out nuclear power in Taiwan is part of the Basic Environment Act. "Therefore, that goal remains unchanged," she said.1

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislated the 2025 nuclear-free deadline in 2016 but has now repealed the relevant passage in the Electricity Act.2

Ten referendum question were put to voters on November 24. All 10 proposals were supported by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party and opposed by the government. Voters supported all 10 propositions, and also dealt the DPP serious losses in local government elections on the same day. Other referendum propositions ‒ all of them successful ‒ included stipulating that thermal power plants should cut their output by at least 1% per year on average; that Taiwan not build any new coal-fired plants; and that restrictions should be maintained on the importation of foods from areas of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima disaster (supported by 77% of voters).3

Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said the Executive Yuan respects the referendum result regarding the 2025 deadline and will work with relevant ministries to re-evaluate the country's energy policies.4 Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin said the policy review will be complete in two months.5

The anti-nuclear group National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform said that not all those who voted in favor of stopping the nuclear phase-out are unconditional supporters of nuclear power, but rather some lack confidence in Taiwan's energy transformation.6

Nuclear power generated 9.3% of Taiwan's electricity in 2017.7 Two aging reactors were permanently shut down this year (Chinsan-1 reached its 40-year limit in October and Chinsan-2 was nearing its 40-year limit). The 40-year operating licenses for Taiwan's remaining four reactors will expire in 2021, 2023, 2024 and 2025. That fate of all six reactors will be contested in the coming period, as will the partially-completed Lungmen nuclear plant. Construction of the two Lungmen reactors was suspended in 2014 and 2015, with 55% public support for the suspension.8

1. Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao, 29 Nov 2018, 'Taiwan's goal to become nuclear free remains unchanged: President Tsai',

2. Cat Thomas, 26 Nov 2018, 'Govt Sidesteps Energy Referendums as Pro-Nuclear Group Mulls Further Action',

3. Jens Kastner, 7 Dec 2018, 'Taiwan's Voters Pull Plug on Energy Sources',

4. Ku Chuan and Ko Lin, 27 Nov 2018, 'Taiwan scraps nuclear-free deadline in wake of referendum',

5. 3 Dec 2018, 'Taipower withholds returning fuel rods pending new energy policy',

6. 25 Nov 2018, 'Anti-nuclear group undeterred by passing of pro-nuclear referendum',



Langer Heinrich 'dodged' N$219 million tax

The Namibian reported on December 12:1

"The Namibian government lost N$219 million [US$15.4 million] in taxes from the sale of shares in one of the world's largest uranium mines, Langer Heinrich, because the country's tax avoidance law is not up to scratch.

"An investigation by The Namibian and UK-based journalism organisation Finance Uncovered revealed that the Australian multi-national mining corporation, Paladin Energy, pocketed N$665 million [US$46.7 million] after selling shares in the Langer Heinrich mine through a Mauritius-based offshore company.

"Paladin argues that using an offshore holding company means they are not liable to pay tax in Namibia. Tax on the proceeds of the sale would have amounted to N$219 million. 

"When presented with details of the joint investigation, the Namibian tax office said they were unaware of the Langer Heinrich deal, but in their view, taxes should have been paid on the proceeds. Tax bosses admitted that problems with legislation mean they are unable to enforce the law on offshore transactions like that of Langer Heinrich.

"Conducting transactions through Mauritius as a way to avoid paying taxes on the profits when assets are sold, is a well-known tax avoidance loophole used by many companies around the world. ... According to Tax Justice Network Africa executive director Alvin Mosioma, companies like Paladin have been involved in "aggressive tax planning schemes" that leave most countries unable to collect enough revenue, primarily through Mauritius which has countless tax treaties with most countries."

Similar accusations have been made about Paladin's Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi (both Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera are in care-and-maintenance). United Nations' Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter noted in a 2013 report that "revenue losses from special incentives given to Australian mining company Paladin Energy, which manages the Kayelekera uranium mine, are estimated to amount to at least US$205 million (MWK 67 billion) and could be up to US$281 million (MWK 92 billion) over the 13-year lifespan of the mine."2

Paladin's environmental and social record has also been the source of ongoing controversy and the subject of numerous critical reports.3

And Paladin isn't the only Australian mining company embroiled in controversy in Africa. A 2015 report by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists found that that since 2004, more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in off-site skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in Africa.5 The report further stated: "Multiple Australian mining companies are accused of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa, according to legal filings and community petitions gathered from South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana."

1. George Turner, Lazarus Amukeshe and Shinovene Immanuel, 12 Dec 2018, 'Langer Heinrich dodged N$219 million tax',$219-million-tax

2. 22 July 2013, 'End of mission statement by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food',

3. Nuclear Monitor #847, 21 July 2017, 'Paladin Energy's social and environmental record in Africa',



Belgium: call to close Tihange-1 reactor

Greens member of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms has called for the decommissioning of Belgium's oldest nuclear reactor, Tihange 1, as it no longer meets international safety standards.

Harms' demand coincides with the publication of a damning new study on the risks of the continued operation of Tihange 1. The author of the study is Prof. Manfred Mertins, an expert in nuclear engineering and former member of the German Nuclear Safety Authority. He presented the findings at a news briefing in the European Parliament. The academic came to the conclusion that the continued operation of Tihange 1 due to "outdated reactor design, inadequate safety management and the accumulation of frequent unplanned events represents a potential danger for the site and its surroundings." It was particularly critical "that the results of international tests and current safety standards are not adequately taken into account."

Prof. Mertins said in the exhaustive study, which was commissioned by the Greens/EFA group, that: "It should be noted that the Tihange 1 nuclear power plant does not meet the requirements of reliable hazard and accident protection. The Tihange 1 nuclear plant provides only limited basic protection. Its design does not consistently cover the state-of-the-art requirements for protection against overarching external effects. This applies in particular to protection against airplane crashes, which, given the proximity to the airport at Bierset-Liège, is a highly safety-relevant factor. The crash of an airplane ‒ larger than a sporting aircraft ‒ would have a catastrophic impact on the site and its surrounding area."

Harms, who is nuclear energy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group, said: "The frequent problems in recent years is an indication of the deficiencies and risks arising from the ageing of the [Tihange 1] plant. The Belgian authorities' handling of the problems of the Belgian reactor fleet, which is characterised by covering up and downplaying the risks, further increases the loss of confidence. The definitive closure of the oldest Belgian reactor could be a much-needed sign that the well-known problems are taken seriously. The authorities in neighbouring countries must also take action. The 43-year-old nuclear reactor Tihange 1 is threatening not only the safety of Belgian citizens but also of the citizens in neighbouring countries."

Abridged with light editing from: Martin Banks, 11 Dec 2018, 'Rebecca Harms: Decommission 'hopelessly outdated' Belgian nuclear reactor',

Taiwan to become nuclear-free by 2025?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu

Before the presidential election in early 2016, Ms. Tsai Ing-Wen, now the President of Taiwan, promised that all existing nuclear power plants will be closed by 2025. Implicitly, all reactors would operate for a maximum of 40 years, with no lifetime extension, and the fourth nuclear power plant will not become operational.

In January 2017, the Amendment of the Electricity Act passed the Legislative Yuan. Article 95 of the Amendment states "all nuclear power generating facilities shall cease operation by 2025." President Tsai's campaign promise became law. However, many uncertainties lie ahead, which will determine whether this part of Electricity Act becomes reality.

First, if the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wins the next two presidential elections and maintains its majority in the parliament, the chance of having another amendment to Article 95 of the Electricity Act will be small.

However, since her inauguration in May 2016, President Tsai's administration has been criticized heavily not only by the oppositions, but also by many long-time DPP supporters. The latter group felt uneasy about the administration being filled with many ex-KMT old-guards, perhaps out of President Tsai's conservative nature. The KMT or Kuomintang is the Chinese Nationalist Party, retreated to Taiwan after WWII.

Indecisive on some policy issues and too hasty on others, President Tsai has united opposite sides: they are both angry and frustrated. Her poll ratings have plummeted. Although there is no credible challenger from the opposition KMT in sight yet, President Tsai's re-election campaign will not be as smooth as the past one. Many think the President will initiate a major cabinet reshuffle soon to change the current uncomfortable situation.

President Tsai also set a renewable energy target of 20% electricity generated by 2025, with the aim to fill the electricity gap created by the nuclear phase-out. Taiwan's Renewable Energy Act passed in 2009, and took effect in 2010. However, former President Ma Ing-Jiu is known to prefer nuclear and often looked down on renewables. The state-owned utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) was hostile towards renewables. The percentage of electricity generated by wind plus solar PV barely exceeded 1% at the end of 2016, after seven years of development. To reach 17% from 1% by 2025 is a very difficult task. Hydro and waste generate around 3% of electricity, with little growth potential.

The attitude of TaiPower is the key determining factor whether the nuclear-free law can be achieved. Taipower is a strong believer in nuclear energy. Two days after Tsai won the election in January 2016, TaiPower surprisingly updated its projection on future power shortages from high risk to little risk if Taiwan becomes nuclear-free. However, two months later, Taipower chair Huang Chong-Chiou denied that Taipower had ever made any such a U-turn in its electricity projection, and said he could not guarantee adequate electricity supply without nuclear power.

Of six operating nuclear reactors in Taiwan, four have full spent fuel pools, with no space for a whole core removal in case of emergency. Unit-1 of Chin San Nuclear Power Plant (NPP1) has been idle since December 2014, pending legislative hearings on the broken handle of a fuel assembly. On 16 May 2016, three sets of lightening buffer facilities on Unit-2 of Guo Sheng Nuclear Power Plant (NPP2) exploded. Taipower has yet to produce a satisfactory explanation, so the reactor remains shut. Despite such a precarious situation, Taipower seeks every opportunity to keep those reactors running.

As if trying to prove Chair Huang's point, in May 2016, Taipower began repeatedly issuing warnings of a possible power shortage. Seeming being manipulated, Minister without Portfolio Chang Jin-Shen suggested the restart of unit-1 of NPP1 as backup power to fill the possible electricity gap, only two weeks after Tsai's inauguration. The suggestion made little sense: at the end of 2015, total installed capacity was 48.7 gigawatts (GW) and peak demand was less than 37 GW. Wind and solar capacity combined is 3 GW. The capacity of the two idled nuclear reactors is 1.5 GW.

Nevertheless, based on data provided by Taipower, Premier Lin Chuan sided with Chang Jin-Shen. However, Chang was heavily ridiculed as lack of basic knowledge on nuclear, since nuclear is not suitable to be backup. Both Lin's and Chang's remarks immediately drew heavy criticism from civil society as well as many DPP legislators who were outraged by the betrayal of President Tsai's nuclear-free promise. Premier Lin retracted his words the next day.

This incident exposed the administration's limited understanding of Taipower, and its role in Taiwan's energy policy over the past four decades. It also showed that the administration fails to control Taipower. Even in early February, Taipower kept issuing warnings of tight electricity supply. As former Premier Frank Hsieh once said: "Taipower often uses heavily doctored information to push its own agenda. Taipower often arranges regular maintenance during peak demand."

What is Taipower's agenda? Most likely it is nuclear power. Since Taipower is a state-owned company, its management team dare not openly defy the President's nuclear-free doctrine. Instead, they use their monopoly status to block all possible options except one ‒ nuclear.

Article 6 of the Amendment of Electricity Bill states that "in order to maintain stable power supply, power generation, transmission and distribution divisions of Taipower can merge into a controlling consortium". Instead of tearing Taipower into three individual companies as electricity liberalization should do, Article 6 did just the opposite, strengthening Taipower's monopoly position.

In case not enough renewable electricity comes online, the first alternative is to burn more fossil fuels. In fact, Taipower has plans to add at least 7.4 GW of fossil generating capacity. The consequence will be greater emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and more local pollution. As the Paris Agreement enters into force, the attempt to release more CO2 goes against the global trend, which calls for carbon neutrality by mid-century.

Some may say that since Taiwan is not party to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, there is no need to observe its rule. What happens if there are some types of economic sanction for not following the global consensus? Perhaps, nuclear should again be considered then?

Whether or not there is a healthy, vibrant development of renewable energy will determine the feasibility of the nuclear-free policy by 2025. Therefore, we demand a clear roadmap and corresponding budget allocations. Only when careful planning and actual implementation begin, can we comfortably say the nuclear-free policy is real. Without the framework and proper preparation, a promise is only a promise.

Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu Ph.D, MPA is a Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University; Chair of Mom Loves Taiwan Association; and ex-Chair of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.

Mass protests in Taipei on March 11

Thousands of citizens took to the streets in Taiwanese capital Taipei on March 11 demanding the closure of atomic power plants and more citizen involvement in decisions on radioactive waste storage. More than 60 anti-nuclear civil society groups rallied to demand greater openness and civic participation in managing nuclear waste, and advocated a move towards more sustainable forms of energy.

Indigenous groups from Orchid Island also took part in the demonstration outside the Presidential Palace with placards calling for the removal of nuclear waste from the island nation.

Marches were also held in Kaohsiung in the south, and Taitung on the east coast.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs responded by promising to comply with a plan to decommission nuclear plants and make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, in addition to using renewable sources for 20% of its power needs. In a press release, the ministry said the movement towards non-nuclear sustainable energy and lower carbon dioxide emissions has been stepped up, and announced two-year and four-year plans to boost solar photovoltaic and wind energy.

Taiwan's nuclear power phase-out

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu

With the election of the Democratic Progressive Party to govern Taiwan in January, plans are being progressed to phase out nuclear power by 2025 and to expand renewables. "There is no room for discussion. When 2025 comes, nuclear power will be abandoned," Economics Minister Lee Shih-guang said on 26 May 2016.

Three operating nuclear plants (six reactors) supply around 15% of Taiwan's electricity. Construction of the two-reactor Lungmen nuclear plant was suspended in 2014. Taiwan aims to increase the ratio of electrical power generated by renewables from 3% to 20% by 2025.

Here we reprint an excerpt from a detailed 2015 article by Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University.

The problematic history of the Lung­men nuclear power plant (LMNP)

Construction of the fourth nuclear power plant at Lungmen reveals the strained relationship between the regulator (the Atomic Energy Council ‒ AEC), and the operator, Taipower. The existing three nuclear power plants were completed under the supervision of two US consult­ing firms, Ebasco and Bechtel. LMNP construction was under­taken by Taipower, which had little experience and oversaw the whole process using GE blueprints. The equally inexperienced AEC set up a regulatory committee in January 1997 to monitor the LMNP's quality and progress. The AEC began publishing short monthly monitoring reports in 2002, when the real work started. Many of the flaws identified during the early stages of construction were soon corrected. The first major discovery was triggered by anonymous tips, indicating that lower­ than ­required­ strength welding was applied in the reactor base frame. Follow­-up by the AEC in April 2002 confirmed the prob­lem, so the base frame was rebuilt.

The AEC identified an increasing number of flaws as con­struction progressed. Major problems listed in the AEC's reports included reinforced tendons for the containment anchor being accidentally cut and careless contractors repeatedly setting working platforms directly on top of previously installed pipes and tubing, causing rust, obvious dents, and even punctures. Workers' logs were filled with appar­ent indications of work overload that would be impossible to fin­ish in a single day. Moreover, many joints inside the LMNP reactor building were inadequately sealed with Teflon tape.

However, more serious allegations raised by an insider were categorized by the AEC as "not safety related". These included headline­ grabbing design alterations and the sys­tematic cutting of corners on materials. It was found that Taipower had made 395 alterations to the LMNP design, including support for an emergency cooling system, with­out consulting the AEC or GE. In addition, Taipower knowingly accepted the use of Neoprene gaskets to replace carbon fiber ones in pull box and conduit fittings, despite the fact that the LMNP specification clearly precludes using such gaskets. The former can easily be ignited at 130°C, such as with a cigarette lighter, whereas the latter can endure temperatures of up to 1,000°C. It was also found that the hot dip–galvanized zinc steel, whose coat­ing is twenty-­five times thicker than zinc­-electroplated steel and can last more than fifty years in coastal areas, nevertheless was replaced by the electroplated variety. In his reply to questions from journalists concerning these replacements, Taipower's LMNP site manager said that a nuclear power plant is not a humid environment, zinc electroplated steel is adequate, and Neoprene releases toxic fumes when it catches fire. Since no one can sur­vive such high temperatures, who would care about toxins then?

The AEC imposed a fine of NT500,000 (about US$16,700) on Taipower in April 2008 and insisted that Taipower re-evaluate the safety of altered items and make no more alterations without the AEC's consent. A couple months later, the AEC discovered that Taipower had made about 700 additional alterations without the AEC's knowledge. A total fine of NT3.5 million (about $117,000) was imposed. Yet again, more alterations without authorization were discovered in mid-­2011. This time, the AEC not only imposed a higher fine of NT15 million ($500,000), it also announced that it would take culpable Taipower executives to criminal court. Apparently, Taipower holds little respect for the AEC.

Shared irresponsibility

Taipower Company is the state-­owned utility monopoly, yet few government administrations had a real grasp of Taipower man­agement. Magazine interviews of several Taipower executives in June 2008 revealed the rationales behind all the nuclear power plant alterations. They blamed "GE's over­-conserva­tive design of LMNP" for all the problems. The excessive GE design, the executives said, required "tens to thousands of times more [materials] than LMNP really needed," making "construc­tion difficult" and "inflat[ing] the costs." Taipower executives did not trust the GE design since the United States had not con­structed a new nuclear power plant "in 30 years," during which "GE lost [a] major part of its nuclear capability." They claimed that Taipower had found "numerous contradictions" during con­struction, and therefore "had no choice but to make improvised changes in order not to delay the whole project".

The AEC had itself to blame for overlooking some important issues. In the short inspection reports in May and August 2007, the AEC lightly mentioned the poor cement jobs in both reactor con­tainments. Reports described threaded steel, cigarette butts, and plastic bottles found in the wall of the reinforced concrete contain­ment vessel, with no photos attached. Some places had steel bars partially exposed. Also found in the number one reactor building were workers chipping away at the newly built containment, with over forty tendon steel bars cut, to make room for the spent fuel pool. It was not until a picture showing plastic bottles in the con­tainment wall leaked to the press in April 2013 that people began to realize how potentially catastrophic and dire the situation was.

According to the AEC, a fine of NT400,000 (about $13,000) was imposed, plastic bottles were removed, and the holes were filled with equal-­strength concrete. The AEC assured the public that the strength of both containments was better than required even after modifications. Less than two weeks later, however, reports were published of a failed integrated leak rate test (ILRT) and structure integral test (SIT) for reactor number one between February 26 and March 5, 2014. Leaks were substantial but difficult to locate. Suspected causes range from more unseen plastic bottles in containments, second-hand valves, and the cutting of corners on the penetration seal within the nuclear island. In addition, records showed that as many as 197 items had been moved from unit number two to reac­tor number one to replace broken parts, probably as a result of inadequate handling.

As LMNP construction began, scandals came to light from time to time, but public reaction was rather mild. Grid connection time was postponed repeatedly, from July 1999 to 2004, 2006, 2010, and finally 2014. Work nevertheless continued with the full intention of bringing the LMNP online.

LMNP's demise

The Fukushima disaster changed the situation. Suddenly, people realized how much Taiwan and Japan had in common, especially regarding seismic vulnerability. Many were bewildered as to how a prudent society with much advanced technology could become so helpless, and what would become of Taiwan in a similar situation. Immediate responses from the AEC deputy chair were anything but reassuring. Without any evaluation and just two days after the Fukushima disaster, he boasted that "all nuclear power plants in Taiwan are just as sturdy as Buddha sitting on his platform." Neigh­boring countries, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and China, all had detected radioactive materials from Fukushima, but the AEC insisted that no materials were detected until March 31, 2011. The sensitivity of the AEC's instruments was questioned by nongovern­mental organizations and the public.

In February 2013, the KMT's premier proposed holding a ref­erendum to settle the future of the LMNP. The current Referen­dum Act requires a more than 50 percent voter turnout, plus an absolute favorable majority vote, in order for the referendum to be legally binding. Since the law passed in 2006, six national refer­enda had been held and all were rejected because turnouts were between 26 and 45 percent. Under the current law, how the refer­endum question is framed determines the outcome. The KMT's proposal was as follows: "Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant [LMNP] should be halted and that it not become operational?" Having the intended ballot date set at the end of 2013, the administration calculated that few would come to vote solely for the referendum, thus legitimizing the LMNP project.

Meanwhile, the AEC requested the European Union to per­form a Taiwan Stress Test, to be completed one month before the planned voting date. A well­-received international assessment cer­tainly would win more public support. Some concluded that the Taiwan Stress Test was a propaganda exercise and not really for nuclear safety. Non-governmental representatives discovered that geological information in a Taiwan National Report was out of date. In the end, the AEC received a polite and lukewarm assess­ment report. But waves of demonstrations popped up nationwide, including one anti-nuclear protest on March 9, 2013, that drew more than 200,000 people.

Pressure from the electorate forced KMT legislators to with­draw the referendum proposal. But a controversial service trade agreement with China that KMT legislators passed in thirty seconds flat renewed widespread demonstrations in March 2014. On April 22, Lin Yi­hsiung, former DPP chair and a longtime antinuclear activist, went on a hunger strike calling for termination of the LMNP. Under all this pressure, President Ma Ying­jeou reluctantly made compromises on the LMNP, including ceasing construction of unit number one and sealing it pending a later decision, and completely stopping construction of unit num­ber two. The decision for the latter was made prob­ably because the administration was clearly aware that the possi­bility of unit number two's becoming operational was very slim. Lin ended his hunger strike on April 30, 2014.

Kuang-Jung Hsum, 'To Regulate or Not to Regulate: The Conundrum of Taiwan's Nuclear Power', Asian Perspective, Oct-Dec 2015, Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 637-666,

Taiwan halts fourth power plant

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Taiwan's government has halted construction of the country's fourth nuclear power plant as a result of sustained public opposition and protest. Premier Jiang Yi-huah from the governing Kuomintang Party (KMT) announced on Sunday April 27 that one of the two General Electric-Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at the Lungmen plant will be 'sealed' once safety checks are complete and before loading fuel, and construction of the second reactor – now 90% complete − will be halted immediately. Almost US$10 billion (€7.2b) has been spent on the plant so far.1

There have been mass protests against nuclear power in Taiwan since the Fukushima disaster. In March 2013, around 200,000 Taiwanese people participated in anti-nuclear protests. In March 2014, about 80,000 people protested against the Lungmen plant (and nuclear power generally) around the time of the Fukushima anniversary. In the days before the Premier's April 27 announcement, tens of thousands of protesters (some reports say 30,000, some say 50,000) broke through a police cordon and staged a sit-in along a main street near the central train station in Taipei. Following the announcement, many protesters left but hundreds remained, and police used water cannon to disperse them on Monday morning. More than 40 people suffered minor injuries.

Five days before the April 27 announcement, former Taiwanese opposition leader Lin Yi-hsiung, who led the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) from 1998−2000, began a hunger strike to protest against the Lungmen plant. On April 30, Lin ended his fast and said: "Over the past half month, the people of Taiwan's outstanding display has been unprecedented, which leaves one feeling moved, full of admiration and deeply appreciative. Nuclear opponents should take a step forward to ensuring the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 nuclear power plants are closed on schedule."12

The recent anti-nuclear protests followed other major mass campaigns, including a student-led occupation of Taiwan's parliament in March to oppose a controversial trade agreement with China; a campaign that successfully pressured the government to stop construction of a petrochemical plant; and a 100,000-strong protest over the death of a mistreated conscript.2

The greatest single reason for opposition to the nuclear plant is that Taiwan is located in the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire. In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed around 2,400 people. A 2011 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that all six of Taiwan's operating reactors are located in very high seismic hazard areas.10 The report states: "With respect to earthquake and tsunami hazards, and large nearby populations, Taiwan's six reactors represent outliers in terms of high risks and consequences from a nuclear reactor accident."

Last year, a consultant on the Lungmen plant's safety monitoring committee publicly released a report detailing a number of construction problems and safety concerns.3 A safety assessment carried out by the European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group led to recommendations to use more modern techniques in identifying earthquake-related hazards that could affect nuclear power plants in Taiwan. The 2013 report suggested that Taiwanese assessments regarding earthquake hazards do not meet current international requirements and do not take into consideration new geological and geophysical data regarding "capable faults in the site vicinity of the Chinshan, Kuosheng and Maanshan plants." The report also recommended greater consideration of multi-reactor and multi-site risks, and the establishment of alternative emergency control rooms.4 The inadequacy of nuclear accident liability arrangements is another reason for concern.5

Radioactive waste

Radioactive waste management problems have also motivated opposition to nuclear power in Taiwan. Central Taiwan Antinuclear Action Alliance convener Tsai Chih-hao says that a group of citizens have discovered 54 sites across Taiwan with elevated radiation levels. There are concerns that the elevated readings may be connected to Taipower's practice of incinerating low-level radioactive waste.6

There is no prospect of finding a disposal site for high-level nuclear waste (spent fuel) in the foreseeable future, and the dense packing of spent fuel at operating nuclear plants is another concern. According to Taipower's Spent Nuclear Fuel Final Disposal Program Plan, a final disposal site for high-level waste is to be decided by 2038 and ready to use by 2055.7

Atomic Energy Council Deputy Minister Chou Yuan-ching told a May 5 hearing of the parliament's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee that 16,671 spent fuel bundles produced by the three operating nuclear plants are being kept in the plants' spent fuel pools. Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh told the Committee that because the pools at the first and second nuclear power plants are unable to store all the spent fuel bundles produced in the plants' lifespan of 40 years, the government hopes to move the bundles to dry cask storage facilities.7

Chou told the Committee that an estimated 740,000 barrels of low-level radioactive waste − including 292,048 barrels produced during the three plants' 40-year lifespan and 455,783 barrels produced during the decommissioning process − are to be created by the three plants. About 100,000 barrels are stored on Lanyu (Orchid Island) while others are in storage facilities at the three plants.11 Chou said that in 2012 the ministry named Taitung County's Tajen Township and Kinmen's Wuchiu Township as potential sites for a low-level waste repository, but the two local governments have not agreed to hold local referendums.7

Yilan Charlei Chen Foundation president Chen Hsi-nan told the Committee that the design of Taiwan's dry cask storage does not allow spent fuel bundles to be removed or transported to other sites, because it lacks sufficient vibration-proof and crash-proof material. He Li-wei, a nuclear expert who worked at the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, said that seven hydrogen explosions occurred when the institute tried to remove fuel bundles from pools 26 years ago in Taoyuan County's Longtan Township.7

Over the decades various plans to send radioactive waste abroad have been advanced and then abandoned.13 On May 12 Kyodo News reported that Taipower has initiated discussions with French officials regarding the possibility of spent fuel reprocessing in France. This follows delays and opposition to the construction of an interim dry storage facility in New Taipei City. Taipower also told Kyodo News that discussions have been initiated with Beijing regarding the possibility of disposing of low-level radioactive waste in China given the obstacles to establishing a repository in either Wuchiu or Tajen Townships.


Whether the fourth nuclear power plant will become operational in the future will be decided by a national referendum − though the timing is uncertain and the nature of any referendum will be contested. Ironically, the pro-nuclear KMT has supported a referendum despite widespread public opposition to the Lungmen plant (more than 70% of Taiwanese are opposed according to DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang, and a March 2012 poll found 66% opposition among Taipei residents). The reason is that none of the six national referendums held in Taiwan since the Referendum Act came into effect in January 2004 has achieved the required 50% voter turnout, even when held in conjunction with national elections.

In August 2013, 40 politicians from the largest opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), barricaded themselves inside the legislative chamber and remained there overnight to prevent a parliamentary vote on whether to hold a referendum on the completion of the Lungmen plant. A physical brawl ensued the following morning and the parliamentary vote did not take place.3

The DPP has called for the Lungmen plant to be scrapped without holding a referendum. The DPP has also called for a referendum to require a majority vote for or against the Lungmen plant without a minimum turnout or with a minimum 25% turnout. The KMT opposes those proposals but may have to modify its position given the strength of public and political opposition.

DPP member and former Taiwanese Vice President Annette Lu has called for an amendment to the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act to allow local referendums for residents to decide whether nuclear plants should be built within 50 kms of their homes. Lu said that according to Article 11 of the Act on Sites for the Establishment of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Facilities, sites for building nuclear waste final depositories must be approved by local residents through referendums. Lu said the law should be amended so that people living within 50km of plant sites can decide on the construction, installation of fuel rods and operation of reactors through local referendums.8

The government says that a national energy conference will be convened as soon as possible to ensure a steady supply of electricity in the future. The KMT and Taipower have warned of power shortages and steep price hikes to justify their support for the Lungmen plant. But even without the Lungmen plant, Taiwan has a 22% reserve margin according to Prof. Jeffrey Bor Yunchang from the Chinese Culture University, in part because factories have moved to China or south-east Asia. "If the government can invest more in other alternative energies like solar power, like wind power, like geothermal, then we can have more alternative power to our energy supply," Yunchang said.9

Construction began on the two 1350 MW Lungmen boiling water reactors in 1999, with the first originally scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2006 and the second in 2007. However, the project has been beset with political, legal and regulatory delays.

The DPP is calling for a phase-out of nuclear power, and even the KMT has pledged to make Taiwan nuclear-free by the middle of this century. Six reactors at three plants currently provide about 18% of Taiwan's electricity − well down from the peak of 41% in 1988.















(Written by Nuclear Monitor editor Jim Green.)

From WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor #786, 16 May 2014

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Taiwanese nuclear politics heats up

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Jim Green - Nuclear Monitor editor

A parliamentary vote on whether to hold a referendum on the completion of the Lungmen nuclear power plant descended into a brawl between opposing parties on August 2. [1] The vote, proposed by the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang − KMT), had been scheduled to decide whether construction of Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant, which is nearing completion, should continue. Fourty politicians from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) barricaded themselves inside the legislative chamber on August 1, remaining there overnight in an attempt to stop the August 2 vote taking place.

The brawl broke out as KMT politicians tried to take possession of the podium to allow the vote to proceed. Television footage showed politicians pushing and shoving, two male politicians wrestling on the floor, and bottles and cups of water being thrown at each other. The scuffle led to the session being suspended, without a vote on the referendum taking place.

The DPP is calling for the Lungmen plant to be scrapped without holding a referendum. At least 50% of eligible voters would have to participate in a referendum for it to be binding. Taiwan has never passed a referendum. The 50% participation threshold has not been reached in any of the six referenda held since the Referendum Act came into effect in January 2004, despite those referenda being held in conjunction with national elections in 2004 and 2008. The Taiwan Anti-Nuclear Action League is calling for the Referendum Act to be made less restrictive.

The KMT said it would arrange six shifts, each comprising 15-20 people, to break through the DPP's grip on the podium, but the ruling party later said it would put on hold a motion to allow for a referendum on the nuclear plant. "We will not rule out the possibility of holding another, or third, extraordinary session of the Legislature to deal with the issue," said Lin Hung-chih, KMT Legislator and head of the party's Central Policy Committee.[2]

Around 100 citizens protested against the Lungmen plant inside and outside the parliament on August 2 as the political parties wrestled for control of the podium.[3] Many are associated with the Taiwan Anti-Nuclear Action League, which comprises most of the anti-nuclear civic organizations in the country including the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, the Humanistic Education Foundation and the Green Citizens' Action Alliance. Other protesters unfurled anti-nuclear banners at 12 major intersections in Taipei.

On the same day, Greenpeace Taiwan warned that in the event of a nuclear accident, none of the subcontractors working on the Lungmen power plant would shoulder any responsibility. At a press conference co-hosted by the Green Citizen's Action Alliance, Greenpeace said that General Electrics and Mitsubishi are indemnified against all responsibility. Senior Greenpeace member Ku Wei-mu said the contractors had no right to ask Taiwanese to trust the safety of nuclear reactors if they themselves were not prepared to accept liability. A Greenpeace report states that in the event of a nuclear accident at the Lungmen plant, the potential economic losses could exceed US$1.1 trillion per annum.[4]

On July 31, Lin Tsung-yao, a consultant on the Lungmen plant's safety monitoring committee, posted a report detailing a number of construction problems on the project. Lin questioned the quality of GE's structural designs, and said that the project is hampered by the dearth of professionals at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Atomic Energy Council who understand the issues and can adequately oversee the project. [5,6,7,8]

Construction began on the two 1350 MW Lungmen reactors in 1999, with the first originally scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2006 and the second in 2007. However, the project has been beset with political, legal and regulatory delays. The DPP halted construction of the plant when it came to power in 2000.

The DPP is calling for a phase-out of nuclear power, and even the KMT has pledged to make Taiwan nuclear-free by the middle of this century.[9] Six reactors at three plants currently provide about 18% of the country's electricity.

On March 9, anti-nuclear rallies swept across Taiwan ahead of the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. According to rally organisers around 200,000 people attended protests nationwide, with 120,000 taking to the streets in Taipei.[10] An opinion poll conducted by the Taipei City Government in March showed that 66% of residents in the capital wanted the Lungmen plant to be scrapped, with just 18% supporting its continuation.[11]

The Fukushima disaster resonated strongly owing to similarities and links between the two countries. Taiwan and Japan both suffer from seismic activity (a 1999 earthquake in Taiwan killed around 2,400 people). Both countries are hit by typhoons − in mid July, a typhoon left Taipower's Chinshan 2 reactor offline and in need of repair.[12]

Taiwan's Shihmen nuclear power plant may have been leaking small amounts of radioactive water for more than three years according to a report published in August by the Control Yuan, a government regulator.[13,14] A Taipower official said the water did not come from the storage pools, but may have come from condensation or water used for cleaning up the floor. The Control Yuan did not accept the explanation and asked Taipower to look into other possible sources of the leak such as spent fuel storage pools. The contaminated water has been collected in a reservoir next to the storage pools.

The Control Yuan said there had been a catalogue of errors, including a lack of a proper plan for how to handle spent nuclear materials and inadequate supervision by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. "The company has yet to clearly establish the reason for the water leak," it said.


Greenpeace East Asia - Taipei

Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#746, 747, 748
Waste special


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Taiwan has adopted the following management strategy for spent nuclear fuel: “storage in spent fuel pools for the near term, onsite dry storage for the mid-term, and final deep geological disposal for the long term".(*01)

Atomic Energy Council (AEC) was founded in 1955 at the ministerial level under the Executive Yuan as the Competent Authority (regulatory body). FCMA is the unique agency for the supervision of spent fuel and radioactive waste safety management. Radwaste Administration (RWA) was established in January 1981, as an affiliated agency under AEC, to meet the growing need for radioactive waste management. After restructuring RWA was renamed as Fuel Cycle and Materials Administration (FCMA) in early 1996.(*02)

Low-level waste
The Lan-Yu Storage Site provides off-site interim storage for solidified low-level radioactive waste from 1982 to 1996, and has not received any radioactive waste since then. Because of the high temperature, moisture, and salty ambient atmosphere in Orchid Island, many drums stored on site for decades has shown paint scaling or rusted, some waste in drums even presents solification deformation.(*03)

Interim dry storage
Taiwan’s current policy calls for dry storage of spent fuel at the reactor site until final disposal, although it is recognized that additional storage facilities will be needed soon to deal with the growing amount of spent fuel being produced. Taiwan is also looking at sending its fuel overseas for reprocessing. However, U.S. government opposition to Taiwanese reprocessing has so far blocked significant movement on this; since Taiwanese reactors and fuel are of U.S. origin, bilateral agreements require Taiwan to obtain U.S. consent for reprocessing.(*04)

Recognizing the problem of spent fuel storage, the authorities began looking toward cooperation on the development of dry storage technology, with mixed success. China offered to take over Taiwan’s spent fuel inventory in the late 1990’s but Taiwan refused due to fears that Beijing would demand political concessions in exchange.(*05) In 2001, Taiwan also explored the possibility of storing its spent fuel on Russian territory; but dropped negotiations after U.S. objections.(*06) However, this could still be a possibility in the long-term.

Since December 1983, research for final disposal has been carried out. The "Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Waste Management Act" was issued in December 2002. It states that the producer of high-level waste is responsible for the implementation of final disposal and is required to submit a final disposal plan for HLRW within two years after the Act came into effect. In Dec. 2004, TPC submitted the "Spent Nuclear Fuel Final Disposal Plan" to AEC. The plan was approved in July, 2006, and will be carried out in five phases: (1) Potential host rock characterization (2) Candidate site investigation; (3) Detailed site investigation and testing; (4) Repository design and license application; and (5) Repository construction. Finally, a deep geological disposal repository is expected to be operational after 2055.(*07)


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Established in 1996 the State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company 'Energoatom' is responsible for everything nuclear in Ukraine, including radioactive waste management. There is no intention for final disposal in Ukraine in the coming decades, though the possibility remains under consideration. In 2008 the National Target Environmental Program of Radioactive Waste Management was approved. Storage of used fuel for at least 50 years before disposal remains the policy.(*01)

Waste management: Interim storage
Before 2005, Ukraine transported annually about 220 tons of spent fuel to Russia.(*02) Because of the rising price of Russia’s reprocessing and spent-fuel storage services, however, Energoatom  decided in the 1990s to construct dry storage facilities. The first Ukrainian dry-cask interim storage facility came into operation in July 2001 at the Zaporozhe nuclear power plant for storage of fuel from the six reactors.(*03) But since 2005, Ukraine has been shipping spent fuel again to Russia from its other sites: about 150 tons a year from seven VVER-1000s and about 30 tons a year from its two VVER-440s,(*04) at a cost to Ukraine of over US$100 annual.(*05)

In December 2005, Energoatom signed a US$ 150 million agreement with the US-based Holtec International to implement the Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine's VVER reactors.(*06) This was projected for completion in 2008, but was held up pending legislation.

Then in October 2011 parliament (and upper house in February 2012) passed a bill on management of spent nuclear fuel. It provides for construction of the dry storage facility within the Chernobyl exclusion area. The storage facility will become a part of the spent nuclear fuel management complex of the state-owned company Chernobyl NPP,(*07) also constructed by Holtec.

The first pond-type spent fuel storage facility (SFSF-1) for RBMK-1000 spent fuel at Chernobyl has been in operation since 1986. Due to the “unavailability of SFSF-2 and taking into account the future prospects of this project it was decided to withdraw SFSF-1 from the list of facilities, subject to decommissioning.

SFSF-2 (or Interim Storage Facility-2 as it is often called outside Ukraine) construction started in June 2000 by Framatome (later Areva), financed by EBRD's Nuclear Safety Account, and part pf the Shelter Implementation Plan. ISF-2 is designed for long-term storage (100 years) of all Chernobyl spent fuel and is a necessary condition for decommissioning Chernobyl and SFSF-1. At the beginning of April, 2007 the agreement was canceled and in September 2007 a contract for completion was signed also with Holtec.(*08) The design of the new facility was approved by the Ukrainian regulator in late-2010. Work can commence once the contract amendment for the implementation is signed. It is expected that construction work will be finalized by 2014.(*09) Negotiations with Holtec on the construction could be completed in April 2012. Costs, however, have been escalating since the project financing scheme was drawn up before the 2008 financial crisis: some U.S. banks that participated in the financing scheme had ceased to exist.(*10)

High-level wastes from reprocessed spent fuel will be returned from Russia from 2013 onwards and should be stored at the existing repository 'Vektor' 17 km away from Chernobyl where a low-level waste repository has been built.(*11) Preliminary investigations have shortlisted sites for a deep geological repository for high- and intermediate-level wastes including all those arising from Chernobyl decommissioning and clean-up.(*12)

United Kingdom

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In 1981, the government in Britain decided to postpone plans for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste. In 2010, the NDA came up with a plan that has to lead to final disposal of high-level waste from 2075. The government claims to follow an advisory committee, but the committee thinks the government gives a distorted view of their advice. Nuclear fuel is reprocessed and liquid and glassified waste is stored at Sellafield until a final repository will be opened.

Low- and medium-level radioactive waste
Great Britain dumped solid low and intermediate level radioactive waste in sea from 1949 untill 1982.(*01) A near-surface repository in Drigg (near Sellafield) has operated as a national low-level waste disposal facility since 1959. Wastes are compacted and placed in containers before being transferred to the facility.(*02)

Investigation from 1978 to 1981 into the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in Caithness led to much opposition. In 1981, the British government therefore decided to postpone a decision on the storage of high-level waste by fifty years.(*03)

Although in 1981 the government decided to postpone the plans for a high-level radioactive waste facility, the search for a storage place for low- and medium-level  radioactive waste had to be continued. For this purpose the British nuclear industry created Nirex in 1982. After repeated selections of a number of new sites and abandoning them again, Nirex chose Sellafield in 1991 for detailed studies on a deep repository for long-lived low-level and intermediate level radioactive waste.(*04)

In March 1997, however, the government rejected Sellafield due to the unfavorable geological conditions. The government has also decided that a new choice of location can take place only  after the government has adopted new procedures for that purpose, and for that participation is required. It took until 2001 before new procedures have been settled.(*05) It will take at least 25-30 years before a deep geological disposal facility for low en intermediate level radioactive waste will be in operation.(*06) Large information campaigns for years and years hasn’t led to a final repository for nuclear waste.

High-level radioactive waste
After the 1981 postponement of a decision on the storage of high-level, the parliament established a new waste policy in 2001, which led to the foundation of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in 2002. The government set up the commission on radioactive waste management (CoRWM) in 2003 to consider long-term waste strategy. This committee has to advise the government on all sorts of nuclear waste, of which "inspire public confidence" and "protect people and the environment" have been central principles.(*07)

The CoRWM released an advice in July 2006.(*08) The committee calls robust interim storage (100 years) and geological disposal as the end-point for all high and intermediate level waste. in deep underground after intensive research into the long-term safety of disposal. For the realization of the storage "voluntarism and partnership" is important: the local population should be willing to cooperate. The government adopted the recommendations of the CoRWM in October 2006 and initiated a new round of official consultations that would end in 2008. Nirex was wound up and the government-owned Nuclear Decommissioning Authority was given responsibility for the long-term management of all UK radioactive wastes.

Meanwhile, it became clear there was a more positive feeling about the construction of nuclear power plants. CoRWM found it necessary to emphasized that its opinion is about nuclear waste that already exists ('legacy waste'): with nuclear waste from new-build power plants other ethical and political aspects play a role than with the present waste. CoRWM states there was no distinction, technically. Both could be accommodated in the same stores and disposal sites. But creating new-build wastes was a choice, and there were alternatives. The political, social and ethical issues surrounding the deliberate creation of new wastes were therefore quite different from those arising from the inevitable need to manage the legacy.(*09) CoRWM argued that the waste implications of any new build proposals would need their own assessment process.

On 10 January 2008, the government announced plans for the construction of new nuclear power plants, followed by a new nuclear waste policy on 12 June 2008.(*10) The government indicated to make no distinction between waste, which is now simply inevitable, and waste from new power plants. The government said that principles of "voluntarism and partnership" are to be used in the selection process and calls on municipalities to present themselves to host a disposal facility. Most of the land in the UK is thought to be geologically suitable for the store.(*11)

Several members of the first CoRWM don’t agree with the government. On a November 20, 2009, letter to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change(*12), Ed Miliband, they stated that the government has reproduced the CoRWM report in an incorrect and distorted way. "In conclusion we reiterate that we do not consider it credible to argue that effective arrangements exist or will exist either at a generic or a site-specific level for the long—term management of highly active radioactive wastes arising from new nuclear build." The members also protest against the fact that the government makes no distinction between unavoidable nuclear waste, which has been produced already, and new nuclear waste that can be avoid. "However, it is clear that government has conflated the issue of new build with legacy wastes and thereby intends the CoRWM proposals to apply to both. No separate process, as suggested by CoRWM1, for new build wastes is contemplated. There will be no opportunity for communities selected for new nuclear power stations to consider whether they wish to volunteer to host a long term radioactive waste facility; it will simply be imposed upon them."

On 15 January 2010, the Scottish government said that nuclear waste must be just stored above ground at or close to existing nuclear facilities (in Dounreay, Hunterston, Torness and Chapelcross), reducing the need for waste to be transported long distances. A consultation exercise on the issue has been launched. Underground storage is not eligible because "Having an out of sight, out of mind policy is losing support." The strategy is at odds with the UK government's preferred option of storing nuclear waste deep underground.(*13)

In March 2010, the NDA published a report in which it states that "a geological disposal facility will be available to receive ILW and LLW in 2040 and HLW and spent fuel in 2075",(*14) but spending cuts could delay the plans, and community support is vital.(*15)
The government thinks this takes too long, and Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, asked NDA's Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) to look at reducing the timescales for first emplacement of high level waste (currently 2075) as well as the dates for spent fuel and waste from new build power stations presently indicated to take place in 2130.(*16)

In a preliminary response to the Minister's request RWMD says: "There are fundamental principles that are critical to the success of the implementation of the geological disposal programme. These are: the vital role of voluntarism and partnership with local communities (…); and, the need for technical and scientific work necessary to underpin the safe disposal of radioactive waste to be done rigorously and to the required high standard."(*17) RWDM will evaluate and "be in a position to consider whether or not changes to the programme would be realistic" in December 2012. (*18)

The long and tortuous story of UK radioactive waste policy demonstrates that achieving legitimacy around the management of these wastes is a social process with long time horizons. After 50 years of policies, institutional change and debate, extraordinarily little has been achieved in securing the long-term disposition of wastes.

United States of America

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The U.S. nuclear waste management policy in the 1960s was focused on underground storage in salt. From 1987 on it was all about Yucca Mountain. In 2009 newly elected President Obama thwarted the plan and a commission was founded to study possible disposal: the nuclear waste policy is back to square one. Awaiting a final disposal facility, spent fuel is stored on site of nuclear power plants. U.S. nuclear utilities are eager to demonstrate that the spent fuel will not stay on-site indefinitely. Thus far, however, all efforts to establish central interim storage facilities have been unsuccessful.(*01) The U.S. dumped between 1949 –1967 in an unknown number of operations radioactive waste in the Atlantic Ocean, and between 1946-1970 in the Pacific Ocean.(*02) No commercial reprocessing has taken place.

No high-level radioactive waste in salt
Already in 1957 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) called storage of nuclear waste in salt the best option.(*03) Also the Atomic Energy Commission developed plans in that direction. In 1963 test drilling in salt began at Lyons, Kansas for a national repository. Because this produced unfavorable results, one went to other places to drill in salt. Also without success.(*04)

Then the eye fell on salt at Carlsbad, New Mexico. The construction of the storage mine (called Waste Isolation Pilot Plant -WIPP) was expected to cost US$ 100 million in 1974,(*05) was cancelled by president Carter in 1980, but Congress restored budget to keep it alive.(*06) The storage would initially begin in 1988, but, although the underground facility was finished by then, because water leaked into the mine (*07) the start of disposal is delayed many times.(*08,09,10) The first waste arrived at WIPP on March 26, 1999. (*11) Construction costs were estimated at US$ 2 billion. (*12)

Around 64,000 m3 of waste – out of the maximum allowed quantity of 175,600 m3 - was stored by the end of 2009. Storage is planned to continue until the end of the 2020s when the maximum allowed capacity will be reached; the mine will be closed in 2038.(*13) It is the world's first geological repository. However, not all nuclear waste can be stored at WIPP. The U.S. government makes a distinction between nuclear waste generated from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear waste generated by the production of electricity from nuclear power plants. In Carlsbad, the storage of low and high level radioactive waste (including spent fuel) from nuclear power plants for electricity production has been expressly prohibited by the government.(*14) However, one part of the radioactive waste from nuclear weapons production was allowed to go there. Generally, TRU (Transuranic) waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris, soil and other items contaminated with radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.(*15)

In 1982, the government established the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. This Act gave states with possible locations an important role in the supervision on the choice of location, including federal funds for its own investigation into the suitability of the site, for an amount of US$10 million per year. States also had the power to prevent the storage. The NWPA mandated that the DOE select three candidate sites for a geological repository for U.S. spent fuel and high-level waste.(*16)

The government adapted the rules. In 1984, the DOE put salt lower on the list and a year later only one salt layer remained on the list: Deaf Smith, Texas.(*17) In 1986, the DOE nominated sites in Texas (salt), Washington state (basalt) and in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain (volcanic tuff).(*17)

At the time, two of the most politically powerful members of Congress, the Speaker of the House and the House Majority Leader, represented Texas and Washington state respectively. They opposed siting the repository in their states. By comparison, the delegation from Nevada was politically relatively weak and so Yucca Mountain became the focus of attention.(*19) In 1987, therefore, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to direct that Yucca Mountain would be the only site to be examined for suitability for the first U.S. Geological repository. (*US20) The 1982 NWPA had mandated that the second repository be in crystalline rock, i.e., in the eastern half of the country, where most of the country’s power reactors are located. However, the 1987 amendments also instructed the DOE to “phase out in an orderly manner funding for all research programs … designed to evaluate the suitability of crystalline rock as a potential repository host medium.” (*21)

To reassure Nevada that other states would ultimately share the burden of hosting the nation’s radioactive waste, Congress also set a legal limit on the amount of radioactive waste that could be emplaced in Yucca Mountain “until such time as a second repository is in operation.” The limit was established as “a quantity of spent fuel containing in excess of 70,000 metric tons of heavy metal or a quantity of solidified high level radioactive waste resulting from the reprocessing of such a quantity of spent fuel.”(*22)

No high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain
The implementation of the decision to dispose nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain did not go smoothly. "Yucca Mountain is not selected through a scientific method, but through a political process," said Robert Loux. He worked for the government of the state of Nevada as a leader of the real estate developer for radioactive waste. "The choice of the repository led to much resistance. The governor, congress delegates, local authorities and almost the entire population was against it." Yucca Mountain is located in an earthquake zone. Loux: "There are 32 underground fractures and four young volcanoes. In the summer of 1992, an earthquake occurred with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale. This led to considerable damage. Therefore Yucca Mountain is unsuitable. The government of Nevada has made laws that prohibit the storage.”(*23) In March 1998, a survey of the California Institute of Technology found that the risk of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is larger than hitherto assumed.(*24)

The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository would have to come in operation in 2010, according to plans made in the 1980s. But it took until July 2002, when President Bush signed a resolution clearing the way for disposal at Yucca Mountain, (*25) and until June 2008 before the DOE applied for a permit to build the storage.(*26) President Barack Obama stopped the storage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in late February 2009,(*27) although DOE had spent US$14 billion (in 2009 dollars) from 1983 through 2008 for the Yucca Mountain repository. The construction of the storage mine and exploitation would have cost between US$41 and US$67 billion (2009 dollars) according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).(*28) Obama finds Yucca Mountain unsuitable and unsafe for the disposal of radioactive waste and therefore "no option". A new strategy for the disposal of nuclear waste must be developed and on 29 January 2010, Obama appointed a commission to work out a new policy: the 'Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future'.(*29)

On 27 January 2012, after nearly two years of work, the Blue Ribbon Commission has issued its final recommendations for "creating a safe, long-term solution" for dealing with spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Efforts to develop a waste repository and a central storage facility should start immediately, it says. “Put simply, this nation's failure to come to grips with the nuclear waste issue has already proved damaging and costly. It will be even more damaging and more costly the longer it continues.” It continued, "The need for a new strategy is urgent, not just to address these damages and costs but because this generation has a fundamental, ethical obligation to avoid overburdening future generations with the entire task of finding a safe, permanent solution for managing hazardous nuclear materials they had no part in creating."(*30) Experience in the U.S. and in other nations suggests that any attempt to force a top down, federally mandated solution over the objections of a state or community - far from being more efficient - will take longer, cost more, and have lower odds of ultimate success. By contrast, the approach the commission recommends is explicitly adaptive, staged, and consent-based. In practical terms, this means encouraging communities to volunteer to be considered to host a new nuclear waste management facility while also allowing for the waste management organization to approach communities that it believes can meet the siting requirements. Siting processes for waste management facilities should include a flexible and substantial incentive program.(*31) On 31 January 2012, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the U.S. will likely need more than one permanent repository for commercial nuclear fuel.(*32) The U.S. nuclear waste policy is therefore back to square one. Except that there is no chance of returning to the option of salt domes or layers. This follows from the 2008 "Nuclear waste trust decision" of the U.S. government,(*33) stating: "Salt formations currently are being considered as hosts only for reprocessed nuclear materials because heat-generating waste, like spent nuclear fuel, exacerbates a process by which salt can rapidly deform. This process could potentially cause problems for keeping drifts stable and open during the operating period of a repository”.


*01- Atomic Energy Council: High Level Radioactive Waste Final Disposal, 1 April 2011
*02- Taiwan: National Report under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, June 2007
*03- Atomic Energy Council: Lan-yu Storage Site status, February 2012
*04- Nuclear Fuel:  Long-Term Spent Fuel Dilemma at Issue in Taiwan-U.S. Renegotiation, Nuclear Fuels, June 1, 2009.
*05- Nuclear Fuel: Taiwan Rejected Chinese Offer of Fresh Fuel for Waste Disposal, 20 April 1998
*06- Nuclear Fuel: Taiwan to Wait on U.S.-Russian Deal Before Taking Spent Fuel Initiative, 9 July 2001
*07- Atomic Energy Council, 1 April 2012

*01- World Nuclear Association, Nuclear Power in Ukraine, February 2012
*02- K.G. Kudinov: Creating an Infrastructure for Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel, in Glenn E. Schweitzer and A. Chelsea Sharber, ed., An International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility-Exploring a Russian Site as a Prototype, National Academies Press, 2005, pp. 145-151
*03- David G. Marcelli and Tommy B. Smith: The Zaporozhye ISFS, Radwaste solutions, Jan/Febr 2002
*04- International Panel of Fissile Materials: Managing spent fuel from nuclear power reactors, 2011
*05- World Nuclear Association,  February 2012
*06- Business wire: Energoatom and Holtec International Formalize the Contract to Build a Central Storage Facility in Ukraine, 30 December 2005
*07- World Nuclear Association,  February 2012
*08- JC-  Ukraine: Ukraine National Report on Compliance with the Obligations under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, September 2008, p.48-49
*09- EBRD: Chernobyl: New Safe Confinement and Spent Fuel Storage Facility, March 2011
*10- Ukrinform: Talks on construction of storage facility for spent nuclear fuel to be completed in April, 28 March 2012
*11- Foratom: Ukrainian Nuclear Forum Association, 28 February 2012
*12- World Nuclear Association, February 2012

United Kingdom
*01- IAEA: Inventory of radioactive waste disposals at sea, IAEA-Tecdoc-1105, August 1999, p53
*02- Low Level Waste Repository Ltd:
*03- Gordon MacKerron and Frans Berkhout: Learning to listen: institutional change and legitimation in UK radioactive waste policy; in: Journal of Risk Research, Volume 12 Issue 7 & 8 2009, December 2009, p. 989 – 1008. 
*04- John Knill: Radioactive Waste Management: Key Issues for the Future, in: F. Barker (ed), Management of Radioactive Wastes. Issues for Local Authorities. Proceedings of the UK Nuclear Free Local Authorities Annual Conference 1997 held in Town House, Kirkcaldy, Fife, on 23 October 1997, Publisher Thomas Telford, London, 1998, p 1 - 17.
*05- Gordon MacKerron and Frans Berkhout
*06- NDA: Strategy for the management of solid low-level radioactive waste from the nuclear industry, August 2010
*07- Department for Trade and Industry (DTI): Managing the Nuclear Legacy: a Strategy for Action, CM 5552, HMSO, London, July 2002.
*08- The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management: Managing our Radioactive Waste Safely, CoRWM’s recommendations to Government, Doc 700, HMSO, London, July 2006
*09- The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management: Re-iteration of CoRWM’s Position on Nuclear New Build, Doc 2162.2, HMSO, London, September 2007
*10- Defra/BERR: Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal, Cm 7386, HMSO, London, June 2008.
*11- World Nuclear News: Waste Plan Revealed, 12 June 2008
*12- Blowers, MacKerron, Allan, Wilkinson, Pitt and Pickard:  New Nuclear Build and the Management of Radioactive Wastes, Letter to Secretary of State from Former Members of CoRWM, 20 November, 2009
*13- BBC News: Nuclear waste storage options examined, 15 January 2010
*14- NDA: Geological Disposal, Steps towards implementation, March 2010 p.24
*15- BBC News on line: Budget cuts caution on UK nuclear waste plan, 7 July 2010
*16- NDA, Review of timescales for geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, 22 December 2011
*17- NDA: Geological Disposal. Review of Options for Accelerating Implementation of the Geological Disposal Programme, December 2011
*18- NDA, Review of timescales for geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste

United States of America
*01- IPFM: Managing spent fuel from nuclear power reactors, 2011, p.106
*S02- IAEA: Inventory of radioactive waste disposals at sea, IAEA-Tecdoc-1105, August 1999
*03- Department of Energy: WIPP Chronology, 5 February 2007
*04- For a detailed discussion on the history of the plans for the storage of nuclear waste in the U.S. we refer to: 1- Ronnie Lipschutz: Radioactive Waste: Politics, Technology and Risk, Cambrigde USA, 1980; 2- A.A. Albert de la Bruhèze, Political Construction of Technology. Nuclear Waste disposal in the United States, 1945-1972, WMW-publication 10, Faculteit Wijsbegeerte en Maatschappijwetenschappen Universiteit Twente, Netherlands, 1992; 3- Roger E. Kasperson, Social Issues in Radioactive Waste Management: The National Experience, in: Roger E. Kasperson (ed), Equity Issues in Radioactive Waste Management, Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain Publishers, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1983, chapter 2.
*05-World Watch: WIPP-Lash: nuclear burial plan assailed, Vol 4, No 6 , Nov/Dec 1991, p.7
*06- Science: Radwaste dump WIPPs up a controversy,19 March 1982
*07- US Guardian weekly: Pilot waste dump is already in trouble, 12 October 1988
*08- Nucleonics Week: WIPP moves toward 1993 waste tests, senate okays bill in 11th hour, 15 October 1992. p 8
*09- WISE News Communique: US DOE delays (abandons?) giant waste projects, no 389, 19 November 1993, p 6
*10- WISE News Communique, US: WIPP is delayed again and again…, no. 496, 21 August 1998, p 2
*11- WISE News Communique: First waste at WIPP, but problem not solved, no 508, 9 April 1999
*12- Nuclear Fuel: After two decades and $2billion, DOE targets spring for WIPP operations, 9 March 1998, p 6-7
*13- Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: Renewal Application Chapter 1, Closure Plan, May 2009
*14- WIPP: Why WIPP, 5 February 2007
*15- Luther. J. Carter, Waste Management; Current Controversies  over the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant; in: Environment, Vol. 31, no. 7, September 1989, p 5, 40-41
*16- Ralph. L. Keeney and Detlof von Winterfeldt: Managing Waste from Power Plants, in: Risk Analysis, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1994, pp 107-130.
*17- Department of Energy: Mission Plan for the Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program, June 1985, Volume 1, p 41
*18- Department of Energy: A Multi-attribute utility analysis of sites nominated for characterization for the first radioactive waste repository – A decision aiding methodology, DOE/RW-0074, 1986
*19- IPFM: Managing spent nuclear fuel from power reactors, 2011, p.109
*20- United States of America Congress: Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, The Act was extensively amended on 22 December 1987, Sec. 160
*21- NWPA, Sec. 161
*22- NWPA, Sec. 114, d
*23-  Interview Robert Loux by Herman Damveld, in: Herman Damveld, Steef van Duin en Dirk Bannink: Kernafval in zee of zout? Nee fout! (Nuclear waste in sea or salt? No wrong!),  Greenpeace Netherlands, 1994, p. 29-30
*24- Nuclear Fuel: 6 April 1998, p 13.
*25- Reuters: Bush clears way for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, 23 July 2002
*26- Barry D. Solomon: High-level radioactive waste management in the USA, in: Journal of Risk Research, Volume 12 Issue 7 & 8 2009,  p. 1009–1024
*27- World Nuclear News: Obama dumps Yucca Mountain, 27 February 2009
*28- Government Accountability Office: Nuclear Waste Management. Key attributes, challenges, and costs for the Yucca Mountain repository and two potential Alternatives, GAO-10-48, November 2009. p.19
*29- World Nuclear News: Post-Yucca nuclear waste strategy group, 1 February 2010. One issue that will not be on the table is the exact location of any eventual waste facilities. The 'Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future' is only to consider strategy, not implementation
*30- World Nuclear News: Immediate action needed on US waste policy, 27 January 2012
*31- Blue Ribbon Commission: Report to the Secretary of Energy, 26 January 2012
*32- Platts: More than one permanent US nuclear repository likely needed: Chu, 31 January 2012
*33- Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Waste Confidence Decision Update, 9 October 2008, p. 59555

Taiwan: fallacies and truths behind official nuclear phase-out plan

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Green Citizen Action Alliance

On November 3, Taiwan government declared a new energy policy which confirms that current reactors will be phased out, but the nuclear power plant under construction will be brought into commercial operation. This “pseudo” nuclear phase-out plan implies that Taiwan can become nuclear free as early as 2055. Furthermore, this new energy policy is formulated based on fallacies which will only place Taiwan under the darkest shadow of nuclear threat. 

On November 3, President Ma Ying-Jeou held a press conference by himself, declared a new energy policy which confirms that the current three nuclear power plants (with six reactors) will be phased out during 2018 to 2025, but the fourth nuclear power plant (at Lungmen, consisting of  two 1350 MW reactors) under construction will be brought to into commercial operation over the next five years.

With the concerns on energy security, reasonable electricity price and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, he insisted that Taiwan only can take a gradual path toward a nuclear free homeland, which is stated clearly by Environmental Basic Law.

In the “new” energy policy, the government provided a scheme to ensure the nuclear safety of all nuclear power plants and several counter-measures on energy efficiency enhancement and renewable energy promotion. Comparing to the situation before Fukushima catastrophe, the government deed takes a U-turn on nuclear power policies which seek the life extension and add more reactors at existing plants during past three years. It seems that government had finally responded to the public demand shown by the demonstrations in March and April. However, there are three key fallacies hiding behind this pseudo nuclear phase-out plan, and those fallacies will only place Taiwan under dark shadow of nuclear threat. 

Fallacy 1: de-growth of electricity demand is not possible
Implementation of this policy implies that Taiwan will still be trapped by energy-intensive development pathway in next two to three decades. Taiwan government emphasizes that the efforts on energy efficiency enhancement will be maximized, but at the same time intimidates citizens that if the fourth nuclear power plant is not able to fully operational in 2016, we will suffer electricity shortage that will lead to huge economic consequence and downward quality of life. But the covered truth is that this policy is actually built on the assumption that electricity demand will grow 3.2% annually, which then will lead to a 24% increase of electricity consumption at 2016 compared to 2010. The manufactured gap of electricity supply is created based on the assumption that the improvement rate of energy efficiency is only able to increase slightly, and the material output of electronics, petrochemical and steel industries will be expanded 30% in next five years. The upsurge growth of electricity demand contradicts the crucial measures in the nuclear phase-out scenarios being proposed in Germany and Switzerland: electricity demand should be restrained. But it is also against the vision of a true energy revolution that Taiwanese long for.

Fallacy 2: international peer-review process can ensure the safety
Owing to the enormous design and engineering errors of the fourth nuclear power plant revealed during the past three years the official 'Oversight Commission on the safety of the fourth nuclear power plant' (which includes representatives from environmental NGO, local community and engineering experts) even made a resolution this August, stating that the construction process should be stopped, unless Taipower reforms their engineering procedure before the end of this year.  Ignoring those warnings, the government still attempted to persuade the public that the safety of the fourth nuclear power plant can be ensured through a peer-review process by international experts. However, from the government's perspective, the only want to invite experts from World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from the United States. The credibility of these two organizations hasn’t been questioned in Taiwan, even after the Fukushima catastrophe.

As we witness all kinds of flaws exposed by the Fukushima catastrophe, we also need to point out that the existing peer-review process is not equal to safety, since Fukushima Daiichi power plant just went through WANO peer-review process in 2009.

Like Indian government used the result of WANO peer-review process to suppress the public opposition on the construction of Koodankulam nuclear power plant in recent months, this scene will repeat in Taiwan and many other countries. Hence, to expose the fallacy of the existing peer-review process should be viewed as an important issue for global anti-nuclear movement.

Fallacy 3: existing stress test is well-organized and useful
President Ma pointed out that all current reactors are examined through the stress test that follows EU criteria. However, according to the first stage near-term safety assessment of nuclear power plants released this October by the regulatory body, Atomic Energy Council (AEC), only few key safety issues are answered. Even AEC already recognizes that the seismic design of the Chin-Shan nuclear power plant is not sufficient; however Taipower Company is still reluctant to take practical actions. Under this loose stress test, not only extreme climate events or terror attacks are absent, the most fundamental issue such as loss of electric power, AEC only asked Taipower to provide measure to response to a 24 hours blackout, not 72 hours blackout as occurred at Fukushima Daiichi. The most unacceptable issue is the lack of public participation during the whole stress test process, neither hearings or public consultations were held, only selected scholars were invited to comment on the report.

From Grassroots to Politician's Drama    
The above three fallacies exhibit that the promise of a nuclear free future made by President Ma, is merely hot-air.In the meantime, the President Candidate from the Democratic Progressive Party, Miss Tsai Ing-Wen declared that she will seek a true nuclear free homeland which includes retirement of existing reactors and abolishment of fourth NPP commercialization. However, she didn’t seem to be aware that de-growth of electricity consumption is the necessity to a nuclear free Taiwan, thus her commitment is not more reliable. This circumstance implies NGOs should keep generating political pressure to fight for the true alternative. After the two major demonstrations, NGOs chose diverse approaches to increase political pressure and raise public awareness, which included petition for a referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant, public education on nuclear disasters in primary school, or minor demonstrations in different forms. In memory of Fukushima catastrophe, all main NGOs involved in the anti-nuclear movement have a joint action at every 11th day of the month.

After ten years of absence on the main political agenda, the Fukushima catastrophe opens a new window of opportunity for the anti-nuclear movement in Taiwan. However, the anti-nuclear NGOs are all aware that the realization of nuclear free homeland should not solely relay on the overturn of the ruling party. Therefore, we need global support to help us to expose the above fallacies, to earn the public trust that a nuclear free Taiwan is necessary. Moreover, the global energy revolution cannot be achieved without a model for newly industrialized countries; Taiwan could be such a model to present a different development pathway and proof it is possible.

Source and contact: Chia-Wei Chao, Member of Executive Board, Green Citizen Action Alliance.

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Oppose Nigeria's nuclear plans.
On September 15, President Goodluck Jonathan formally inaugurated Nigeria's Atomic Energy Commission and urged its members headed by Erepamo Osaisai to quickly evolve implementable plans and timelines for the delivery of atomic energy for peaceful purposes in the country. We recall that the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission was established in 1976 to investigate the development of nuclear energy but little progress was made. It was reactivated in 2006 and President Jonathan appointed a new team this year.

Nigeria has the world's seventh-largest natural gas reserves, yet the nation is blighted by persistent electricity outages which force businesses and individuals who can afford them to rely on generators. Much of this vast gas reserves sit untouched under the ground or are flared into the sky. Despite being Africa's biggest crude oil exporter, decades of corruption and mismanagement mean Nigeria has never built the infrastructure to farm its huge oil and gas resources for much-needed domestic use.

Deficits in our existing institutions remain a defining albatross on the path to meaningful development. Cut to the bone, this scenario suggests that Nigeria currently lacks the indigenous capacity, supporting infrastructure, discipline and security wherewithal to build and manage an atomic power plant. It simply is another way of courting disaster - one we cannot manage.

Let us explore and exploit other safer, rational options. These include solar, gas, hydro, wind and coal options. Nigeria has these resources in stupendous quantities. A presidential directive requesting timelines for the generation of electricity through these options is far better than the timelines he recently demanded from the newly-inaugurated Atomic Energy Commission. Our scientist-president should think again.
Editorial Leadership newspaper (Nigeria),, 3 October, 2011

Belene construction agreement extended.
Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) and Bulgaria's National Electricity Company (NEK) have signed a supplement to their agreement on the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, extending it until the end of March 2012. Under an earlier extension, the agreement - originally signed in 2006 - was extended until 30 September. According to ASE, the extension 'confirms the parties' interest in the continuation of the project.' NEK said that during the next six months, the two companies will continue their activities related to completing a market study, clarifying the financial model and studying the project finance proposal submitted by financial advisor HSBC. It added that the extra time will allow Bulgaria to conduct an analysis of the results and recommendations of stress tests being performed at nuclear power plants across the European Union. ASE said that work on the foundation pit for the first reactor at Belene has now been completed. It said that a concrete plant at the site has already been put into operation and that water treatment plants have been built.
World Nuclear News, 03 October 2011

UAE: Construction first unit will start mid-2012.
According to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec), a government establishment created last year to oversee the ambitious nuclear construction project, said it would launch construction work for the infrastructure of four planned nuclear power plants in Barrakah in the western region in mid 2012 to pave the way for their operation in 2017. The UAE will award a contract in early 2012 for the supply of nuclear fuel to run its four nuclear reactors which the country is planning to construct as part of an ambitious nuclear power program.

Under the agreement to built 4 nuclear reactors, inked on December 27, the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) and is partners in the consortium will design, build and run the reactors that will produce 5,600 MW of electricity. The contract to build the reactors is worth about US$20 billion (15bn euro).

The UAE has said the project is intended to diversify its energy supply sources and meet its rapid growing electricity demand, which is projected to surge to around 40,000 MW in 2020 from nearly 15,000 MW in 2009. The nuclear project will provide nearly 25 per cent of the UAE’s total energy needs of nearly 40,000 MW in 2020. Around seven per cent will be generated through renewable energy and the rest through conventional means.
Emirates 24/7, 25 September 2011

Pyhäjoki location for Finland's sixth reactor.
Fennovoima has chosen Pyhäjoki as the site for its nuclear power plant. Pyhäjoki municipality is located in North Ostrobothnia and the nuclear power plant will be constructed on Hanhikivi peninsula on the coast of Bothnian Bay. For the basis of the site selection, assessments were carried out during some four years. In the beginning of Fennovoima project in summer 2007, the company had almost 40 alternative sites. The number of alternatives was decreased gradually based on assessments and in December 2009 Fennovoima ended up having two alternatives, both located in Northern Finland: Pyhäjoki and Simo municipalities. In the final site decision, safety, technical feasibility, environmental matters, construction costs and schedule were the main factors examined as well as the ability of the site region to support a project that will bring thousands of people to work and use services there.

Fennovoima continues now the planning work together with the municipality, authorities and the plant suppliers and prepares applying for various licences and permits. For example, more detailed bedrock, environmental and water studies will be carried out on the Hanhikivi peninsula. Simultaneously, other preparations for the future phases of the project are carried out together with Pyhäjoki and Raahe region. First preparatory works on Hanhikivi will be started in the end of 2012 at earliest. The construction schedule will be elaborated after the plant supplier has been selected. Fennovoima sent bid invitations for Areva and Toshiba in July 2011 and the plant supplier will be chosen in 2012-2013.

Fennovoima has two owners: Voimaosakeyhtiö SF and E.ON Kärnkraft Finland. Voimaosakeyhtiö SF owns 66 percent of Fennovoima and nuclear expert E.ON Kärnkraft Finland 34 percent. Altogether Fennovoima has 70 shareholders. Voimaosakeyhtiö SF is owned by 69 finnish regional and local energy companies as well as companies in trade and industry.

Finland has 4 reactors in operation (two at Lovisa and two at Olkiluoto). The fifth (Olkiluoto-3) in under construction; over budget and over time.
Press release Fennovoima, 5 October 2011 / IAEA Reactor database.

Health effects radiation suppressed by tobacco companies.
Tobacco companies knew that cigarette smoke contained radioactive alpha particles for more than four decades and developed "deep and intimate" knowledge of these particles' cancer-causing potential; however, they deliberately kept their findings from the public. The study, published online in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, adds to a growing body of research detailing the industry's knowledge of cigarette smoke radioactivity and its efforts to suppress that information. The UCLA researchers analysed  dozens of previously unexamined internal tobacco industry documents, made available in 1998 as the result of a legal settlement.

“The documents show that the industry was well aware of the presence of a radioactive substance in tobacco as early as 1959; furthermore, the industry was not only cognizant of the potential 'cancerous growth' in the lungs of regular smokers but also did quantitative radiobiological calculations to estimate the long-term lung radiation absorption dose of ionizing alpha particles emitted from cigarette smoke." The study’s first author, Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, a professor of cardiology who conducts research at UCLA's Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, said: ‘We show here that the industry used misleading statements to obfuscate the hazard of ionizing alpha particles to the lungs of smokers and, more importantly, banned any and all publication on tobacco smoke radioactivity.” 

The radioactive substance, which the UCLA study shows was first brought to the attention of the tobacco industry in 1959, was identified in 1964 as the isotope polonium-210, which emits carcinogenic alpha radiation. Polonium-210 can be found in all commercially available domestic and foreign cigarette brands, Karagueuzian said, and is absorbed by tobacco leaves through naturally occurring radon gas in the atmosphere and through high-phosphate chemical fertilizers used by tobacco growers. The substance is eventually inhaled by smokers into the lungs.
LA Examiner, 28 September 2011

Dounreay: Belgium waste to be returned.
Dounreay has announced the return of reprocessing wastes from the BR2 research reactor in Belgium. The BR2 reactor in Mol was a good customer for Dounreay over the years, receiving new enriched uranium fuel from the reprocessed spent fuel. It planned to send considerably more spent fuel to Dounreay but the reprocessing plant was closed by a leak and never reopened. Wastes have already been returned to France and Spain. One Dounreay reprocessing customer has requested the substitution of vitrified high-level wastes for the intermediate level wastes at Dounreay (a consultation on this was held in 2010). However, Belgium wants to take back the intermediate level waste, as required by the original contract with Dounreay. Dounreay also had contracts with Australia, Germany and for Italian-owned fuel from Denmark.

There are 153 tons of BR2 reprocessing wastes cemented into 500-liter drums and this will involve an estimated 21 shipments over four years, starting this autumn. The shipments will be from Scrabster and will probably involve the former roll-on/roll-off ferry, the Atlantic Osprey.
N-Base Briefing 689, October 2011

IAEA Inspector exposed to radiation.
On October 5, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that one of its nuclear inspectors had been exposed to radiation during a 4 October inspection of the Belgoprocess nuclear waste facility in Dessel, Belgium. The inspector, along with an inspector from Euratom and a Belgoprocess employee, apparently received a dose of radiation after a vial or flask of plutonium accidentally fell on the floor, according to releases from the company and the Belgian Federal Nuclear Control Agency (AFCN). Plutonium is dangerous if ingested, but the amount received by the inspectors was less than the legal limit, the AFCN says. No radiation has been released beyond the site., 5 October 2011

Atucha II, Argentina's third nuclear power plant.
President Cristina Kirchner inaugurated Atucha II, Argentina's third nuclear power plant on September 28. The German-designed reactor is expected to be fully operational in six to eight months after engineers run a series of tests. Construction of the plant began in July 1981, but work soon stopped and did not resume until 2006, when then-president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), the current leader's late husband, ordered the plant to be completed.

Argentina's other nuclear plants are Atucha I (335 megawatts) and the Embalse plant (600 megawatts). Once Atucha II is online 10 percent of Argentina's electricity will be produced by nuclear power. Plans are on the drawing board for Atucha III plant as well as an overhaul of the Embalse plant to add 30 years to its operational life, said Planning Minister Julio de Vido. Embalse was connected to the grid in 1983. Atucha II is located on the banks of the Parana river in the town of Zarate, some 100 kilometers north of the capital Buenos Aires. It was built at a cost of more than 2.4 billion dollars.
AFP, 29 September 2011

Another USEC deadline for DOE loan guarantee.
On September 30, USEC, announced morning it will reduce its spending on the American Centrifuge Project (ACP) in Piketon by 30 percent over the next month. It will also send out notices to its 450 employees Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland that layoffs are possible if the company doesn’t receive a loan guarantee before October 31. USEC has invested approximately US$2 billion in the ACP but needs significant additional financing to complete the plant. In 2008, USEC applied for a US$2 billion loan guarantee from Department of Energy for construction of the ACP. USEC significantly demobilized construction and machine manufacturing activities in 2009 due to delays in obtaining financing through DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. Since then, many 'final' deadlines were set by USEC (three in the past half year: June 30, Sept. 30 and now Oct, 31) to obtain the loan guarantee.

In a call with investors, USEC President and CEO John Welch said the company must see a loan guarantee during the next month or risk the end of the project. USEC expects October “to be a month of intense interaction with the DOE,” in hopes of securing the loan guarantee.

The company had faced a September 30 deadline with two investors — Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation and Babcock & Wilcox Investment Company — to receive a US$2 billion loan guarantee. They agreed September 30 to extend that deadline to October 31. If USEC receives the loan guarantee, the companies have promised US$50 million to support the project.

In a statement, DOE Spokesman Damien LaVera said, “The Department of Energy has been working closely with USEC as the company has continued to test and validate its innovative technology, obtain private financing and meet other benchmarks that would be required for a successful loan guarantee application. We are strongly committed to developing effective, domestic nuclear enrichment capabilities and are looking at all options on a path forward.”

The ACP will utilize USEC’s AC100 centrifuge machine, which has been developed, engineered and assembled in the US. The AC100 design is a disciplined evolution of classified U.S. centrifuge technology originally developed by DOE. DOE invested already US$3 billion over 10 years to develop the centrifuge technology.
Dayton Daily News, 1 October 2011 /  ACP website:

Taiwan: nuclear accident compensation increased.
On September 30, the Taiwanese Cabinet approved an amendment to the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act that imposes heavier compensation liability on nuclear power operators in the event of natural disasters such as an earthquake or a typhoon. Under the amendment, the maximum amount of compensation for losses caused by a nuclear accident was increased from NT$4.2 billion (US$138 million or 103 million euro) to NT$15 billion (US$5 mln or 3.7 mln euro) and the allowed period for compensation claims was extended from 10 to 30 years.

The amendment came after the Atomic Energy Council reviewed the act, which had not been amended since it was first enacted in 1997, in the wake of the nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin said the amendment fell short of her expectations as she had suggested further lifting the ceiling on compensation liability.
Tapei Times, 30 September 2011

36 year old construction permit extended. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has extended the construction permit for the unfinished Bellefonte unit 1 in Alabama.
The construction permit was originally granted in 1974. It was suspended in 1988, when Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) decided to halt work on the project, but the NRC agreed in 2009 to reinstate the permit. With the reinstated permit due to expire on 1 October 2011, TVA lodged an application for an extension in October 2010. The NRC has now agreed to that extension, meaning that the construction permit will remain valid until 1 October 2020. (see more in Nuclear Monitor 732, 9 September 2011)
World Nuclear News, 03 October 2011

Swiss parliament, no new reactors.
On September 28, the Council of States has followed the government’s lead by voting not to replace the country’s five nuclear power stations  and boost renewable energy resources. Switzerland currently has five nuclear power plants that will gradually come off the power grid at the end of their 50 year (!) lifespan: the first one in 2019 and the last one in 2034. The Senate followed the House of Representatives in calling on the government to ban new nuclear plants but keep parliament "informed about innovations in the field."

The clear result of the September 28 vote - with a three to one majority - came after a parliamentary committee prepared a compromise formula, promoted by the centre-right Christian Democratic Party, which will give parliament another chance to have a say at a later stage. “Even if we were to ban nuclear power plants now our successors in parliament could still one day decide on building on new reactors,” a Christian Democratic Senator, Filippo Lombardi from Ticino, said on behalf of the committee. Discussions on nuclear power are due to continue in the new parliament which is due to convene for the first time in December following general elections next month.

The Social Democrats, the Greens as well as the Christian Democratic Party hailed the Senate decision as an important step towards a new energy policy amid calls for further measures to switch to more renewable energy sources.

The government called for a withdrawal from nuclear energy in May – a proposal backed by the House of Representatives a month later. 28 September 2011

Hinkley Blockaded: No New Nuclear Power!
More than 300 people (even up to 400, according to a BBC-report), successfully sealed off the main entrance to Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset for nine hours on 3 October in opposition to EDF Energy's plans to build two new mega-reactors on the site. EDF said of 500 employees at the plant, only essential staff had been called in and had arrived by bus at dawn.

Blockaders were joined by a theatrical troupe who enacted a nuclear disaster scenario, while Seize the Day provided a musical backdrop to the event. 206 helium balloons were released to represent the number of days since the Fukushima meltdown. The balloons will be tracked, to show which areas of the West Country would be worst affected by a nuclear disaster at Hinkley.;; BBC, 3 October 2011

Taiwan after Fukushima

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Taiwan Environmental Protection Unit

Since the Fukushima disaster, NGOs hosted two major demonstrations, on March 20 and April 30, as well as many ongoing nationwide activities. Two days after the Fukushima disaster, Deputy Chair of the Atomic Energy Council, Taiwan’s regulatory body, assured the Legislators that Taiwan’s six operating nuclear reactors are as safe as “Buddha sitting comfortably on her lotus platform“.

NGOs and some Legislators called for abolishing the construction of the 4th nuclear power plant, and immediate stopping the 6 operating reactors for thorough safety check-ups. Taiwan has three operating nuclear power plants: Chinshan, Kuosheng, and Maanshan, with two reactors each. The fourth plant, Lungmen, two 1300MW ABWR, is under construction.

On March 15, President Ma, of the pronuclear KMT party, said there is no need to change the current nuclear policy. “The existing 6 reactors will keep running till serious incidences emerge. Since no signs of emergency occurs, no need to stop these reactors.” “Once real serious incidences occur, reactors will be abandoned immediately to protect the public”. President Ma’s announcements were criticized as “nonsense and stupidity” by non-governmental organizations. In addition, AEC officials said that radioactivity from Fukushima reaching Taiwan is impossible. Only a few days later they were forced to admit that vegetables in northern Taiwan were found to be contaminated.

One survey conducted by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, on March 16, shows 50.6% of the Taiwanese population has little confidence in nuclear plant operation; 61.1% has little confidence in government’s ability of handling the crisis and 76.5% agrees that the construction of the 4th nuclear power plant should temporarily be stopped till reactor safety are warrant. Another survey conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank, on March 17th shows 58% agrees that construction of 4th nuclear power plant should be stopped and should be re-evaluated; 65% worries about nuclear safety; 79% does not know how to evacuate and how to cope with a nuclear accident if it occurs in Taiwan; 56% suspect that radioactive nuclei from Fukushima can travel to Taiwan; and finally 74.6% of people in Taiwan do not accept AEC’s analogy that Taiwan’s nuclear plants are as safe as Buddha on her lotus seat.

On May 30, maybe concerned about possible influences of the nuclear issue on the Presidential and parliamentary elections next January, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced “no lifetime extensions (after 40 years’ operation) for current reactors” and “no 4th nuclear power plant operation unless safety is guaranteed”. Before the Fukushima incident, the Ministry of Economic Affairs sent its energy policy to the Environmental Protection Agency for policy Environmental Impact Assessment. That particular energy policy was formed August 2010, with expansion of nuclear and coal at its core. One week before the May 30 announcement, the Ministry quietly retracted its energy policy from EPA.

As reported in the Nuclear Monitor 688, May 7, 2009, the Atomic Energy Council revealed that between January and November 2007, state-owned Taipower changed the 4th nuclear plant design in 395 places without applying permission from the Atomic Energy Council, as law requires. Taipower was fined 4 million NT dollars for misconduct (US$ 139,000 or 100,000 euro). However, additional more than 700 safety related design changes without approval were discovered in January 2011. On March 8, three days before the Fukushima disaster, AEC fined Taipower 15 million NT dollars, and sent the case to the prosecutor for violating ”Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulatory Acts”. This is a bold and unprecedented act from the rather weak AEC. At the deadline of this article, July 25, one cannot be sure whether AEC will act as strong in the future, and eventually shut the 4th nuclear power plant, or if AEC is just a dummy testing political winds.

Source and contact: Gloria Hsu, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, TEPU.
2nd Fl., No. 107, Section 3, Ting Chou Road, Taipei, Taiwan.

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

No Nukes Asia Forum in Taiwan
Activist from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and India wil hold their (almost) annual meeting in Taipei, from September 18- 22.

NNAF began in 1993 and unites Asian based antinuclear organizations. The forum always combines education and exchange with direct action and media outreach. This year the international delegation will travel to Taiwan’s nuclear power station no. 1 and 2 at the northeast coast and nuclear power plant no. 3 at the southeast coast. At the University of the capital Taipei a two-day program will discuss the danger of  nuclear power plants in earthquake prone areas, the debate on climate change and the role of nuclear power and the situation in the different countries.
Contact and more information:

Doctors against uranium.
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) on September 1 adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.
The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors. IPPNW calls for appropriate measures to ban uranium mining worldwide
Although many national branches of the IPPNW network have been campaigning against uranium mining and nuclear energy for many years already it is seen as a major breakthrough that now the international federation has taken a firm position and has committed itself to support campaigns against uranium mining.
Source and contact: IPPNW, Anne Tritschler, Tel.: +49 (0) 30-698074-14,

Iran: Busher reactor finished after 36 years!
On August 21, Russia started loading fuel into the reactor at Iran's first nuclear power station Bushehr. The Bushehr plant is on the Gulf coast of southwest Iran. It is Iran's first nuclear power plant. Construction of two pressurized water nuclear reactors began in 1974 with the help of German contractor Siemens and French scientists. The Bushehr I reactor was 85 percent complete and the Bushehr II reactor was partially complete prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Shah. The project was halted and the site was then damaged during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and equipment was looted.

The project was later revived with Russian help but construction ran into repeated delays blamed by Russia on problems with receiving payment from Iran. Current plans are for one reactor to be launched. Bushehr will have an operating capacity of 1,000 MW.
Reuters, 21 August 2010

Sudan: 4 reactors in 2030.
Well, if you think you read it all…. Sudan plans to build a four-reactor nuclear power plant to "fill a gap in the energy needs" of Africa's largest country by 2030, Mohamed Ahmed Hassan el-Tayeb, head of Sudan's atomic energy agency, said on August 24. He also said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would help to build a research reactor and power plant for Sudan by providing expert training for staff, fellowships and feasibility studies.

He said Sudan was hoping for "a medium size four-unit power plant with each reactor producing between 300-600 MW per year". El-Tayeb said bidding for equipment and technology could begin in five years time and a further 10 years for construction of the plant, so it could be completed by 2030, costing between US$3-6 billion.

Currently 20% of the population has access to electricity.
Reuters, 24 August 2010

Nuclear power: Goal or means?
Vice President Boediono of Indonesia said on August 20, that a proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Indonesia was still on the table although he could not say when or where it may be built. “We will continue trying. Someday, somewhere we will build the nuclear power plant.”

More often than not it seems that nuclear power is rather a goal than a means to boil water (because that’s all there is to it, or not…?).
Jakarta Post, 20 August 2010

Radioactive boars on the rise in Germany.
Almost a quarter century after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, its fallout is still a hot topic in some German regions, where thousands of boars shot by hunters still turn up with excessive levels of radioactivity and considered potentially dangerous for consumption. In fact, the numbers are higher than ever before. The total compensation the German government paid last year for the discarded contaminated meat shot up to a record sum of  425,000 euro (US$558,000), from only about 25,000 euro ten years ago, according to the Federal Environment Ministry in Berlin. "The reason is that there are more and more boars in Germany, and more are being shot and hunted, that is why more contaminated meat turns up," spokesman Thomas Hagbeck told The Associated Press. Boars are among the species most susceptible to long-term consequences of the nuclear catastrophe 24 years ago. Unlike other wild game, boars often feed on mushrooms and truffles which tend to store radioactivity and they plow through the contaminated soil with their snouts, experts say.

However, boars are actually the beneficiaries of another ecological crisis — climate change. Central Europe is turning into a land of plenty for the animals, as warmer weather causes beech and oak trees to overproduce seeds and farmers to grow more crops the boars like to feast on such as corn or rape, said Torsten Reinwald of the German Hunting Federation.

"The impact of the Chernobyl fallout in Germany, in general, has decreased," said Florian Emrich, spokesman of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection. For example, radiation has ceased to be a problem on fields cultivated with commercial crops, he said. But forest soil in specific regions that were hit hardest after Chernobyl — parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg in southern Germany — still harbors high amounts of radioactive Cesium-137 which has a half life of roughly 30 years, Emrich said. In fact, the Cesium from the Chernobyl fallout is moving further into the ground and has now reached exactly the layer where the boars' favorite truffles grow. Therefore, the season for such truffles — a variety not eaten by humans — usually means a rising number of radioactive boars.
AP, 18 August 2010

Russian reactor too expensive for Belarus?
Alyaksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus might abandon plans to have its nuclear power plant project built by Russia and financed with a Russian loan, according to BelaPAN. The Belarusian leader said that the signing of an interstate agreement on the project had been postponed once again, and that the government did not reject the possibility of the plant being built by a contractor other than Russia s Atomstroiexport. Belarus chose Russia on the basis of "what they promised to us," Mr. Lukashenko noted. "They urgently demanded from us that they build this plant and then they started putting pressure on us for, I believe, purely subjective reasons. You know what the reasons are," he said.

Russia wanted Belarus to pay "in fact a double price," but Minsk refused, saying that there had been an agreement that the price would be "the same as in Russia," he said, adding that Belarus had agreed to pay the price at which the last nuclear power plant was built in Russia., 16 August 2010

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

U.K. wants to sell Urenco stake.
The U.K. Government’s stake in Urenco, which owns nuclear enrichment plants in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, will be sold off to help to repay the country’s escalating debt mountain, the Prime Minister announced on October 12. The plan to sell off the Government’s one-third stake in Urenco could be the most controversial. The stake is controlled by the Shareholder Executive, which was created in 2003 to better manage the Government’s performance as a shareholder in businesses. The other two thirds are owned by the Dutch Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland and German Uranit. Downing Street sources said that the sale would be subject to national security considerations, which could lead to the Government maintaining a small interest in the company or other restrictions placed on the sale.

Meanwhile, the Dutch state took over the last 1.1% of the stakes in Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland, the Dutch part of Urenco, from private companies. Now, The Netherlands, owns the full 100% of the company. The Netherlands is not in favor of selling the uranium enrichment company to private parties.

The Times (U.K.) 12 October 2009 / Letter Dutch Finance Minister, 12 October 2009

Belarus: EIA Hearing new NPP.
On October 9, a public hearing took place in Ostrovets, in the Grodno Region, on the question of construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus. All the entrances to the cinema where the hearings were held got blocked by riot police and streets were filled with plainclothes police. Documents and leaflets critical of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) were confiscated illegally, because of their 'doubtful' contents. Employees of state institutions were brought to the hearings by busses. Forcedly assembled audience was registered in advance, in violation of regulations. Many registered participants were however not let inside the building. Speaking was allowed only to state employees in favor of nuclear power plant construction, others were denied to speak. The denial was motivated by the fact that they supposedly have been registered too late. It is clear that the procedure of these hearings didn't meet the standards and therefore the results can't be recognized as independent. Russian expert in nuclear physics Andrey Ozharovskiy was arrested in the morning on a charge of disorderly conduct when he wanted to enter the building and handing out a critical response to the EIA. He was released only after 7 days in jail. Thus, the authorities showed their true face again - they are not going to let the dissident speak openly on the matters important to those in power.

Belarus Anti-Nuclear Resistance, 10 October 2009

Sellafield: Dramatic rise to discharge limit.
Sellafield Ltd is expected to ask the U.K. Environment Agency (EA) for an almost 5-fold increase in gas discharge limit for Antimony 125 (Sb-125) so that the Magnox reprocessing plant can continue to operate. Sb-125 has a radioactive half-life of 2.75 years and emits beta radiation.

Disclosed in its Quarterly Report to the local West Cumbria Sites Stakeholder Group meeting scheduled for 1st October, the EA confirms that Sellafield wants the limit to be raised from its current level of 6.9 to Gigabequerels (GBq) to 30GBq. The bulk of Sellafield’s Sb-125 gas discharges arise during the de-canning  (removal of the fuel’s outer casing) of spent Magnox fuel, particularly the higher burn-up fuel, in the site’s Fuel Handling Plant prior to its transfer to the reprocessing plant.

In early 2008 the Sb-125 discharge limit stood at just 2.3GBq but later had to be raised to its current level of 6.9GBq when the discharge chimney sampling equipment was found to be under-reporting. In October 2008 Sellafield Ltd indicated to the EA that, as part of its Periodic Review submission, it would be seeking to increase the limit from 6.9GBq to 11.6 GBq. In a spectacular misjudgment of its discharge requirements, Sellafield now needs to raise the limit to 30GBq to allow the de-canning and subsequent reprocessing of the larger volumes of higher burn-up fuel being received in the Fuel Handling Plant from UK’s Magnox power stations.

Since 2007, processing higher burn-up fuel in the Fuel Handling Plant has lead to Sellafield breaching its discharge Quarterly Notification Level on a number of occasions, and in late 2008 exceeding the site’s internal trigger level. Subsequently, in April this year, as releases of Sb-125 from the Fuel Handling Plant threatened to breach the Sellafield site limit itself, Magnox reprocessing had to be abandoned for several weeks. Currently, the EA expects the current discharge limit to be breached again but is permitting Magnox reprocessing to continue – as the lesser of two evils.

The proposed increase in site discharge limit to 30GBq is unlikely to be authorized until April next year when approval from the European Commission, under Euratom Article 37, is expected to be given. Whilst the current limit of 6.9GBq is likely to be breached between now and then, it is understood that discharges of other fission products released during the de-canning of Magnox fuel in the Fuel Handling Plant, whilst also on the increase, will remain within their respective site discharge limits

CORE Press release, 30 September 2009

Ratings NEK downrated due to Belene.
On 5 October, according to the Platts News Flashes, the rating agency Standard & Poor's Rating Services down rated the credit ratings for Bulgaria's dominant state power utility NEK from BB to BB- partly because of its involvement in Belene. The down rating "reflects our view of a weakening of NEK's financial profile and liquidity on the back of large investments and in the context of a deteriorating domestic economy," said S&P credit analyst Tania Tsoneva. The spending that NEK did "prior to the project's financing, coupled with large regular investments, have significantly weakened NEK's financial metrics". In November there will be an update of S&P's CreditWatch.

Email: Greenpeace, 6 October 2009

U.A.E. Passes Nuclear-Energy Law.
On October 4, the United Arab Emirates issued the Federal Law Regarding the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. The law provides for "the development of a robust system for the licensing and control of nuclear material." Federal Law No. 6, which was issued by U.A.E. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, establishes the independent Federal Authority of Nuclear Regulation to oversee the country's nuclear energy sector, and appoints the regulator's board. It also reiterates the U.A.E.'s pledge not to domestically enrich uranium as part of its plans to build nuclear power plants, the first of which is slated for commercial operation in 2017. The law makes it illegal to develop, construct or operate uranium enrichment or spent fuel processing facilities within the country's borders.

The bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the U.A.E. and the U.S., or the 123 Agreement, could come into force at the end of October, when a mandatory 90-day period of Congressional review is expected to end.

Wall Street Journal, 5 October 2009

Uranium waste: Urenco transports to Russia stopped.
A TV-report by the German/French-TV-station ARTE brought a new wave of media coverage concerning uranium waste transports from France and Germany to Russia. One of the positive results of the media interest: Urenco has confirmed that the UF6-transport from Gronau to Russia on 26 August was indeed the last one!

This is a major success for the joint campaign involving Russian, Dutch, French, Finnish, Swedish and German activists and organizations for the last three-four years. Thanks to this hard campaign the anti-nuclear groups have finally stopped this part of the dirty export of nuclear waste to Russia. Considering that they were up against several of the biggest nuclear players in Europe and various governments they have done very well!

But the same documentary, aired on October 13, made clear that France’s energy giant EDF is still sending its uranium hexafluoride to the Seversk facility in Siberia, Russia. According to the ‘Liberation’ newspaper, 13 percent of French radioactive waste produced by EDF could be found in the open air in the town in Siberia to which access is forbidden. An EDF spokeswoman declined to confirm the 13 percent figure, or that waste was stored in the open air, but confirmed EDF sends nuclear waste to Russia. Because a small part (10-20 %) of the depleted uranium is send back after being enriched to natural levels U-235, authorities claim it is not waste but raw material.

Reuters, 12 October 2009 / Email: SOFA Muenster (Germany) , 16 October 2009

Bad news for American Centrifuge Plant.
On October 15, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it could not support a program to prove USEC’s centrifuge technology. The loss of US$30 million (Euro 20 million) for the next financial year comes after the DOE's July decision to refuse USEC a loan guarantee to help it secure finance for the American Centrifuge facility at Piketon, Ohio. At the time the company said it would have to 'demobilize' the project, on which it had already spent US$1.5 billion (see Nuclear Monitor 691, 16 July 2009, In Brief). The DOE placed USEC's application on hold and gave the company a chance to improve its application by proving the commercial viability of its technology. The DOE was to financially support a proving program with US$30-45 million per year, starting in the financial year 2010.

However, the US$30 million for the first financial year was recently denied by Congress during the appropriations process. And in another piece of bad news for USEC it has emerged that a manufacturing fault in its centrifuges will mean several months' delay while replacement parts are made and the units rebuilt. In a statement, the DOE noted that the deal with USEC still stands to postpone review of its loan guarantee application until certain "technical and financial milestones are met," which would probably take six months even without the delay of rebuilding. The department noted that it had "worked closely" with USEC this year on its loan guarantee application, and had put an extra $150-200 million per year into Cold War clean-up at an adjacent site managed by the company. This boost should lead to 800-1000 new jobs, the DOE said, which would offset the 750 jobs at risk on the American Centrifuge.

World Nuclear News, 16 October 2009

Jordan: site studies begin for Aqaba nuclear plant.
On October 13, the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) launched environmental and feasibility studies for the location of the countries’ first nuclear power plant. It marked the first gathering of the implementing parties of the site-selection and characterization study, a two-year process that will examine the proposed site, located in the southern strip of Aqaba, nine kilometers inland and 450 meters above sea level.

Over the next three months, nuclear engineering and consultant bureau’s, will determine whether the site, some 20km outside Aqaba city, will be suitable for the construction.

The JAEC selected Aqaba due to the abundant water sources of the nearby Red Sea and the proximity to infrastructure such as the Port of Aqaba and the electrical grid, the chairman said, noting that there are plans in place to establish up to six reactors at the site.

During the meeting on October 13, JAEC Chairman Khaled Toukan indicated that the JAEC is also considering a proposal to establish two power plants at the site simultaneously. The measure would decrease costs by 20 per cent through utilizing economies of scale, he added.

A week later Toukan announced that Jordan is coming up with 'strong results' indicating the country would emerge as a key exporter of uranium by the end of 2011. He made the remarks during a tour of the uranium exploration operations, which are being carried out in central Jordan by the French atomic energy conglomerate, Areva.

Jordan Times, 14 October 2009 / Deutsche Presse Agentur, 20 October 2009

French Polynesia: nuclear compensation very restricted.
There was much praise in July when the French National Assembly approved a bill for compensating the victims of tests carried out in French Polynesia and Algeria over more than three decades. About 150,000 civilian and military personnel took part and many later developed serious health problems. (see Nuclear Monitor 686, 2 April 2009; In Brief) But now activists fighting for victims of French nuclear testing in the Pacific are stunned by conditions imposed in the compensation bill by France's upper house.

Roland Oldham, president of Mororua e Tatou Association, representing French Pacific nuclear test workers, said the actions of the upper house Senate reflected arrogance in metropolitan France towards its territories. He said the Senate has imposed strict requirements on applicants to prove their case on various grounds. The geographic zone from which claims would be considered had been greatly limited. The Senate had further rejected a bid by his organization - fighting for years for compensation - to be part of a compensation committee, which would now be only made of people nominated by the French Ministry of Defence. "It's the same people that have done the nuclear testing in our place, in our island," Mr Oldham said. "And finally, there's only one person decides if the case is going to be taken into account, (if a victim) is going to have compensation or not - and that's the Ministry of Defence. "For our Polynesian people it's going to be hard. A lot of our people won't be part of compensation."

Radio Australia News, 15 October 2009

Taiwan: life-time extension of oldest plants.
State-owned Taiwan Power Company has asked to keep using the oldest nuclear power plant, Chinshan, operational since 1978 in a coastal area of north Taiwan, after the licenses of its two reactors expire in 2018 and 2019, the Atomic Energy Council said. The application is for extending the life of the plant's two generators from 40 to 60 years. Environmental activists voiced severe concerns about what they called a risky plan, also citing a shortage of space to store the nuclear waste. “We strongly oppose the measure. We cannot afford taking such as risk," Gloria Hsu, a National Taiwan University professor, told AFP.

Taiwan Power operates three nuclear power plants, while a fourth is being constructed.

AFP, 21 October 2009

Nuclear Power in Taiwan: accidents waiting to happen

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Gloria Hsu, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union

It was in February 2001, in order to mend political rift caused by cancellation of fourth nuclear power plant in Taiwan, both parties, the Democratic Progressive (DPP, ruling, then) and the Nationalist (KMT, ruling, current) Party agreed, Taiwan will be a “no nuclear homeland”, and the fourth nuclear power plant is the last one.

As climate change is becoming too imminent to ignore, the only remedy of the KMT government is nuclear power, which happened to be the main theme in recent National Energy Forum, held last April. KMT’s energy proposals includes: extended lifetime to 60 years for current reactors; 6 to 8 new reactors from 1.35GW each to increase the share of nuclear in electricity-mix from 13.5% in 2007 to over 30% after 2025. But strong opposition from civil society (and renewable industries) prevented those proposals reaching “consensus” in the April National Energy Forum. However, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan still stresses that “nuclear is the essential transition energy towards low carbon economy” in his closing remarks.

By the way, this energy forum produced no targets on energy efficiency improvement, or the share of renewable energy and also no cap on industry energy consumption. President Ma Ying-jeou only promises CO2-emissions returning to 2008 levels between 2016 and 2020, and back to 2000 levels at 2025. Taiwan’s CO2 emissions in 2000 were 100% more than that of 1990.

NPP4, disaster in the making

In 1996 General Electric won the contract of the fourth nuclear power plant (NPP4). Since it no longer manufactures any reactors, it subcontracted the reactors to Hitachi and Toshiba, and the generators to Mitsubishi. One question is whether this arrangement violates the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty since no diplomatic ties exist between Japan and Taiwan.

Unlike the construction of the existing three nuclear power plants more than 20 years ago, construction of the fourth plant is now supervised by Taipower Company which has no experience in this matter. On February 5 2008, a local newspaper (the Apple Daily News: “Hidden Dangers of the fourth nuclear power plant”) revealed that between January and November 2007, Taipower changed the GE design in 395 places without applying permission from the Atomic Energy Council, as law requires.

Among the 395, a total of 20 alternations may jeopardize major safety features. One alternation is the welding of the emergency cooling water system. Instead of using nuclear-grade sealing gaskets in conduit, Neoprene, or Chlorinated Polyethylene materials are found in NPP4 nuclear islands. These materials are specifically disallowed in GE design. In addition, hot-dip galvanized steel or galvanized steel are replaced with zinc electroplating steel. Zinc electroplating steel is usually 10 to 30 times thinner than the other two types of steel.

In the same February 5 article, Taipower claimed that GE’s design flaws makes welding of the cooling-water system impossible and that they had to alter the original design. In June 2008, in an article (“Current status and challenges of Taiwan nuclear energy”) in the Taiwanese edition of Scientific American, Taipower states that the GE’s NPP4 design is over conservative, and requires ‘10 to 100 times more (steel, cement) than necessary’. A Taipower representative admits that toxic fumes will be released if neoprene is heated. However, “under such condition, everyone dies, who cares about toxic gases.”

Saving 2/3 of cost is the main reason to replace galvanized steel with zinc electroplating steel. Taipower representative also claimed that power plant indoor is dry enough, therefore “no need to worry about material life expectancy (corrosion).” However, NPP4 safety specifications clearly state that material for indoor equipment has to last 40 years under 10 to 100% normal humidity, and maximum humidity during accident conditions – first 6 hours steam, next 99 days 18 hours 100%.

Amid those questions, officials from the regulatory body – the Atomic Energy Council – said “(material of) gasket and conduit are no concern of plant safety.”

A recent incident revealed how good the construction quality control is! In the night of September 13 2008, Typhoon Sinlaku hit northern Taiwan. The nuclear island of the second reactor of NPP4 was flooded with more than 2 meters of muddy water for 4 days due to heavy rain! Almost all major safety features were under water, including control rod moving assembly and cooling-water condenser, along with 50+ pumps, numerous valves, etc. To blame for this was a not properly sealed opening to an unfinished underground tunnel.

What else will follow?

Low-level nuclear waste

By Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council's definition, everything except the used fuel is low-level nuclear waste. Initially, Taipower (i.e., the Taiwan Power Company) promised in the initial Environmental Impact Assessment of NPP4, to have a permanent low-level nuclear waste storage facility in operation by the end of 2001. This sentence was removed in later EIA modifications. As of December 2008, a total of 192,898 barrels of low level nuclear waste were produced from existing 6 reactors. Since shipments are blocked from unloading since 1996, some 97,960 barrels are stored at the designated site on Orchid Island, home of the Tao tribe. The rest is stored inside three nuclear power plants.

In May 2006, the DPP government passed the “Low-level nuclear waste permanent storage site act”. Commissions formed by selected experts first have to find ‘potential sites’, and then select “suggested candidate sites (SCS)” from these “potential sites”. Local governments of SCSs will vote (agree or reject) to be “candidate site”.  On August 29, 2008, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced three potential sites: WangAn of PengHu (Pescadores) County, DaZen of TaiDong County, and MuDan of PingDong County. On March 17, 2009, it was announced that MuDan was eliminated from the Suggested Candidate Sites. PengHu County opposes the possibility to be nuclear waste dumpsite by designating the location as a “Nature (Basalt) Reserve”. But the Taipower Company said it will not give up easily.

Residences of DaZen of TaiDong County are mainly indigenous tribes, with an average income lower than national. The County parliament hosted a public hearing on April 8, opposing the central government decision and demanded removal of the nuclear waste from Orchid Island (which is located in the same county).

High-level nuclear waste

Currently all spent fuel is stored on-site. As of October 2008, there are 5,206, 6,864, 2,127 fuel assemblies, respectively, in three nuclear plants. Taipower claims it will fall short of space for spent fuel if all existing reactors run 40 years. Interim on-site (dry) storage for spent fuel was proposed for NPP1 and its EIA passed in 1995. Taipower revived the idea in 2005. After nine review meetings, the modified EIA finally passed in March 2008, despite opposition from local government and residences. A similar process for on-site dry storage of spent fuel from NPP2 is underway.

Citing costs-concern and self-dependency, it is decided that dry casks will be home made. Worries about this include lack of experiences, early rust and leakages in the humid salty environment, and that the interim storage may eventually become a permanent dump site.

Source and contact: Gloria Hsu, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union. 2nd Floor, No. 107, Section 3, Ting Chou Road, Taipei, Taiwan 100.
Tel: +886 2 363 6419

Taiwan: activists protest arrival of reactor

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 27, 2003) Around 200 residents of the Taiwanese Kungliao village in Taipei County demonstrated on 20 June near the site of the "fourth nuclear power plant" (Lungmen) to demand a halt to the arrival of a reactor from Japan. For several years now anti-nuclear activists have fighted the construction of the nuclear power plant, helped by Kungliao fishermen.

(589.5524) WISE Amsterdam - The reactor vessel and related equipment for the first (of two) reactor was carried from a military port in Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture by a Dutch ship ('Happy Buccaneer', Mammoet-company). Taiwan Power Company will place the reactor temporarily in a warehouse at the construction site. The plant's commercial operation will be launched in July 2006, said Taiwan Power Company. According to anti-nuclear activists the reactor design, an Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), has been used in the Japanese Kashiwazaki NPP, which experienced several accidents.

Taiwan currently operates three nuclear power plants with each two reactors at a site (Chinshan, Kuosheng and Maanshan).

Construction of the disputed Lungmen plant was abruptly halted in October 2000 by the administration of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shortly after President Chen Shui-bian came to power in May that year (see WISE News Communique 538.5217: "Taiwan: Lungmen cancellation announced, political row continues").

The administration however ordered a resumption of the construction February 2001 after encountering an enormous backlash from the opposition camp (Kwomintan Party) (see WISE News Communique 543.5245: "Taiwan: two sides to the nuclear coin").

A new 'Environmental Basic Law', passed by Parliament in November 2002, requires the government to turn Taiwan into a 'homeland free of nuclear energy' (see WISE News Communique 559: "In brief"). But, the government doesn't mention a date for a final phaseout of nuclear energy. Building a nuclear-free Taiwan has long been a top priority of the DPP and was one of Chen's election promises three years ago.

But now the government is promoting the idea of building a nuclear-free homeland but still goes on constructing the Lungmen reactors at the same time. The DPP government now studies the feasibility of holding a referendum to decide the future of the plant.

To help raise public awareness and give the people a better understanding of what it means to be a 'nuclear-free homeland', the Government Information Office, some Ministry's, the Atomic Energy Council and others formed a Committee for Disseminating Information on Establishing a Nuclear-free Homeland.

As no dates have been laid down for a final phaseout, construction of Lungmen is still continuing and no referendum has been held, the Taiwanese nuclear industry proceeds with its plans for Lungmen and neglects the wish for a nuclear-free Taiwan. On 28 November 2002, the head of the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) announced that Taiwan won't become nuclear-free until 2061, based on the earliest time that Lungmen could be decommissioned (after 45 years of operation).

Resistance against the Lungmen plant has been strong. Taiwan's first anti-nuclear demonstration against it took place in 1987 when hundreds of people sat in front of the Taipower building to protest plans to build Lungmen.

Building Lungmen leads to a negative impact on the ecological systems of nearby coastal areas also because of the construction of a wharf to facilitate construction of the plant. Environmentalists are convinced that the marine habitat of Yanliao (lying within a marine resource conservation area immensely rich in both the number of species and their populations) will be devastated and that the three-kilometer golden beach of fine quartz sand which runs from Yenliao to Fulung, one of the priceless ecological and tourist resources of the northeast coast, may be lost along with it.

Meanwhile protests are continuing. Anti-nuke activists marched on 23 June from Taipei's City hall to the Longshan Temple in Wanhua District marking the completion of a nine-month island-wide drive over more than 1,000 kilometers to get the fate of the plant back on the political agenda.

With this march concluded, the activists plan to stage a sit-in protest in front of the Presidential Office on 4 July to pressure President Chen Shui-bian to fulfill the promise he made during the 2000 presidential election to halt construction of Lungmen. The anti-nuclear activists, who organized the Association for a Referendum on Lungmen, also plan to visit nuclear power stations island-wide to promote their anti-nuclear message.

Even te U.S. starts interfering with the issue. Two Chinese-language newspapers reported that the U.S. has warned Taiwan not to hold a referendum on Lungmen. The United Daily News and Apple Daily reported that Douglas Paal, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, said Washington opposed the referendum, planned to coincide with next year's presidential elections. President Chen Shui-bian respondend by saying that "only Taiwan's 23 million people have the right to decide Taiwan's future".


  1. Government Information Office, 14 February 2001
  2. Sinorama Magazine, 27 March 2001
  3. Taipei Times, 28 November 2002, 20 and 23 June 2003
  4. China Post, 20 and 21 June 2003

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), #29, Lane 128, section 3, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 363 6419 Fax: +886 2 362 3458

No Nukes Asia Forum boosts struggle in Taiwan

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(October 15, 2002) Delegates from 9 countries came together in Taiwan for the once-a-year meeting of Asian NGOs fighting nukes: the 10th No Nukes Asia Forum (NNAF).

(575.5451) WISE Amsterdam - The Taiwanese environmental movement is mainly occupied with the fight against completion of the 7th and 8th reactors, which are being built at the fourth nuclear power station site, in the north-eastern tip of the island (Lungmen). During the NNAF, we visited the site and found out that the management of the project is still very confident of finishing the project. According to the builders the two reactors are almost 30% complete.

Also the harbor, specially built for the nuclear power stations (according to Japanese and Taiwanese sources, delivery of the reactor vessel by ship from Japan is expected next April) seems to be quite on track.

Although Taiwan's governing party (the Democratic People's Party, DPP) opposes nuclear power, anti-nuclear activists say that the whole structure and apparatus of the bureaucracy is still so dominated by people of the Kuo Min Tang (KMT), which was in power for the previous 50 years, that the new government fails to effectively halt the construction of the new reactors. There are also legal problems: at one point Lungmen was included in the budget and the law does not allow canceling the budget. And with not only bureaucracy but also the Taipower company being dominated by KMT pro-nuclear people, it is hardly possible to get the right information, do research, or counter the argument that so much money has been spent that it would be an economic disaster to halt construction.

Meanwhile the project itself is plagued by incidents, cost-overruns and delays (see WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 570.5420, "Taiwan: welds falsified in new scandal at Lungmen".)

Nevertheless there is still hope that the reactors can be stopped. On 21 September, just a week before the first day of the NNAF, the famous activist and former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung started a 1000-kilometer march demanding a referendum to decide upon the future of the project. The environmental movement is pretty confident they would win such a referendum and that a referendum would force even the KMT to abandon the project.

Participants of the NNAF joined the march (which is only pursued in the weekends and will thus take a year) for seven kilometers in Taipei, capital of Taiwan. Lin Yi-hsiung, whose wife and two daughters were killed by security forces in the 1980s when he was already fighting for democracy and against nuclearization of Taiwan, has insisted that the march must take place in complete silence with people walking in a single line, one behind the other.

So, although new and somewhat strange to at least the western participants of the NNAF, we walked in silence and in "goose-formation" through the capital, in a long line of several hundreds of people. Impressive!

After two days of presentations and exchange in Taipei and visits to the reactor site the NNAF group split up. A group visited Orchid Island (where low and intermediate-level waste is being stored) and the other groups visited the waste management plant next to the second nuclear reactor. Besides a volume-reduction center, the plant also has an incinerator where low-level waste and residues of the nuclear industry are burnt - causing concerns about the danger to local fishermen and residents.

Although never scientifically connected to radiation the issues of the deformed fish - still being found near the outlets of the nuclear power stations - keep causing turmoil amongst Unions of fishermen and farmers.

As Taiwan has a special status (with no international recognition) there has never been any international investigation into the causes of the deformation of sea-life. The anti-nuclear power movement keeps supporting the fishermen's unions in their plea for full research and eventual compensation.

Although there was not much media attention for the visits by the NNAF participants, the local groups welcomed the international guests as they considered it a contribution to their struggle and a clear sign of solidarity.

This was also experienced by the group that visited Orchid Island, where the indigenous Tao people are still fighting to have the radioactive waste removed from their island. The new government has recently installed a new commission which will study the Orchid Island repository and look into alternatives for waste-storage. But, as the minister responsible for the commission explained during NNAF, "if we take the waste from Orchid Island we will have to put it somewhere else - no question that this will be a place where other people live and there is no justification to put the burden on other communities."

As the NNAF concluded in its final statement, only stopping the production of new nuclear waste can be a step in the right direction!

Source:WISE Amsterdam

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), 2nd Fl., 107, section 3, Ting-Chou Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 2367 8335 or 2363 6419. Fax: +886 2 2364 4293
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