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Taiwan: Resistance against pro-nuke decision

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 13, 1996) The Taiwanese Parliament voted on October 18 to restore funding for the country's fourth nuclear power plant which had been set aside after the financing was cancelled in May. The 76-to-42 decision of the parliament was appealed by the government in June, and now the vote was 83-to-0 in favor of the plant. (see WISE NC 453.4488and 459.4552)

(461.4571) WISE Amsterdam - The parliamentary debate on the subject had been set for October 15, but opposition lawmakers and anti-nuclear activists blocked the building and kept Premier Lien Chang from entering it.

On October 16, General Electric, which had won the bidding for the U.S.$1.8-billion contract for delivery of reactors and generators, announced that it would seek compensation if the construction would be delayed any longer. "General Electric has given Taiwan Power a written notice stating its decision not to extend the deadline," Taipower vice president Lin Chin-chi said then. "This means GE would be able to seek compensation if parliament does not agree to support the project by midnight tonight."

The Friday decision came along with an eruption of violence both inside and outside the parliament. Opposition lawmakers claimed they were not given the possibility to vote and only the ballots of the Nationalist Party deputies were collected. Those had kept them -- sometimes using their fists -- from the parliament's dais, a claim that is clearly confirmed by the result of the vote: 83 to 0.

As the news reached the streets, outraged activists threw gasoline bombs, fireworks and rocks at the parliament. They broke through the razor-wire barricades around the building and lighted small fires, and were driven back by about 4,000 helmeted riot policemen backed up by powerful water cannons. There were also a lot of other demonstrations and actions. A police jeep was firebombed and eggs were thrown at the police, but most of the demonstrations were peaceful. In any case, it was the harshest outbreak of violence on the island since it ended four decades of authoritarian rule in 1987.

"We don't feel the joy of victory," the Nationalist Party deputy Tseng Yung-chuan said; other officials were said to be "delighted". The Democratic Progressive Party said it would not give in. It viewed the decision as a temporary setback. Detailed plans are being made to proceed with the construction. The building of the main parts of the reactors is being undertaken in Japan by Hitachi and Toshiba. These are to be shipped to Taiwan. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries won the tender for the turbines. The estimated contract price is around U.S.$120 million. The reactors (two advanced boiling water reactors of 1350-MW each) are expected to cost about U.S.$4.1 billion.


  • Reuter 16, 18, 21 October 1996
  • Magpie Country Nukes Headlines (Japan) #961030, 29 October 1996

Contact: KFEM, Seoul, Korea, fax: 822-730-1240

Taiwan: GE wins tender

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 7, 1996) On 24 May, the Taiwanese parliament voted to cancel the financing of the fourth nuclear power station project by a 76-42 margin, but the ruling Nationalist Party said the cabinet would ask parliament to review the case.

(453.4488) WISE-Amsterdam - The Democratic Progressive Party's legislative caucus hailed the budgetary overturn in parliament as a "major victory for the anti-nuclear activists". The cabinet under President Lee Teng-hui and Premier Lien can contest parliament's action formally by sending it back for reconsideration.

Parliament's decision will be sent to cabinet, which can adopt it as the new policy or reject it. Rejection by the cabinet can be overruled by a two-thirds vote in parliament; the cabinet has to accept such an overruling or resign.

Just two days after the parliament vote, however, Taipower announced that General Electric Co (GE) had won a tender to supply two nuclear reactors and related equipment for the controversial fourth nuclear power plant.

Democratic Progressive Party deputies have petitioned to impeach Premier Lien Chan for not halting the tender. They said Lien, economics minister Chiang Ping-kun and Chang Chung-chien, chairman of the state-owned Taipower Co, had gone ahead despite the knowledge that parliament had voted to cancel funding. According to Taipower officials, GE won the bid with US$1.8 billion, a price "lower than our base price". Some sources said the bidding price of the U.S.-based GE was US$200 million lower than Taipower's base price. But Taipower refused to confirm the report.

Under the tender's terms, any successful bid could be revoked if the government's budget for the project is cancelled. The contract automatically becomes void once Taipower does not give notice to proceed within four months. Since the cabinet may have a reshuffle in June, it will probably make the final decision after the reshuffle. GE, Westinghouse Electric Corp and ABB Asea Brown Boveri unit Combustion Engineering Inc of the United States participated in the bidding.

Taiwan approved plans for the US$4.1 billion, 2,700-megawatt plant in 1994 after years of delays and protests triggered by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On 3 September 1995, 5,000 demonstrators marched through the capital, Taipei, to urge the government to drop the plan to build the fourth reactor. On 29 May 1994, an even larger demonstration took place: 20,000 people took to the streets. Taipower produces 21,900 megawatts of power annually, about 23.5 percent of which is generated by three nuclear power plants. Taipower says total output must rise to 36,000 megawatts by 2002 if power consumption is to keep pace with Taiwan's economic growth.


  • WISE NC 414, June 24 1994 & NC 441 13 Oct. 1995
  • Reuter, 26 & 27 May 1996

Contact: Edgar Lin, Anti-Nuclear Coalition for Taiwan.
Tel: +886-2-759 7988.

Taiwan waste to Russia?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(January 19, 1996) The state-run utility Taiwan Power (Taipower) has announced that it plans to send low-level radioactive waste to Russia.

(445.4413) WISE Amsterdam - According to Chen Fan-hsien, a Taipower director, the utility firm is slated to deliver the first shipment - from 2,500 to 5,000 barrels - to Russia this summer between June and August. Details are still under negotiation.

Russia authorities, however, have denied the reported plan, saying that any contract on dumping Taiwan's radwaste in Russia would violate Russian law. "The law on the environment says no radioactive waste can be brought into Russia, so this delivery just cannot happen," Ministry spokesman Georgy Kaurov said. "The ministry is not getting involved with it."

Officials in the Russian harbour of Murmansk had announced in November last year that nuclear waste from Taiwan would arrive in Murmansk in April. Taiwan then denied this, saying it still had not decided where to dump its waste (see WISE NC 443.4384). Taiwan currently dumps its waste on Orchid Island, off Taiwan's southeast coast, but the site will be full in less than two years and the construction of new radwaste facilities in Taiwan is opposed by local environmentalists. Taiwan has also considered sending nuclear waste to China and the Marshall Islands.
Sources: Reuter, 3 & 4 Jan. 1996

Contact: Anti Nuclear Coalition for Taiwan, Box 843, Tunghai University, Taichung 40704, Taiwan.
Tel & Fax: +886-4-359 5622

Taiwanese waste to Russia

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 24, 1995) Officials in the Russian harbour of Murmansk said on November 17, that a first shipment of nuclear waste from Taiwan will arrive in the Russian Arctic port next April.

(443.4384) WISE-Amsterdam - Taiwan replied and said the following day that it has not decided whether to ship its nuclear waste to Russia but added that negotiations with Russian counterparts are underway.

"We are still in the stage of discussion with our counterparts in Russia ... there is no time-table and no substantial plan at the moment," a senior official at state-run utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) told Reuters. The Taipower official, who declined identification, said Taipower signed a letter of intent with a Russian nuclear research body in June, but did not reach any agreement on disposing of the island's nuclear waste in Russia. "Russia is a possible site and we do not rule out the possibility of shipping our nuclear waste to Russia in the future," the Taipower official said.

Russian journalists said the ecology committee of the regional authority in Murmansk announced that 2,000 litres of low-level radioactive waste would arrive in the city, little more than 100 km (60 miles) from the Norwegian and Finnish borders, for onward carriage to a Russian waste processing plant in the Moscow area.

Taipower operates Taiwan's three nuclear power stations and a fourth is under construction. Waste is currently dumped on Orchid Island just off Taiwan's southeast coast, but the site will be full within two years. Construction of additional nuclear dump sites in Taiwan proper is strongly opposed by local environmentalists. Besides Russia, Taiwan has considered sending waste to China, the Marshall Islands in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Source: Reuter, 18 Nov. 1995

Contact: For A Nuclear Free North, Igor Kudrik, Maklakova-9-21, 183073 Murmansk, Russia
or Anti Nuclear Coalition for Taiwan, Box 843, Tunghai University, Taichung 40704, Taiwan, Tel & Fax +886-4-359 5622

Taiwanese anti-nuclear protest

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(October 13, 1995) Some 5,000 Taiwanese marched through the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, on 3 September, to protest against nuclear power and to urge the Taiwan government to drop a plan to build a fourth nuclear power station (with the country's reactor-units 7 and 8).

(441.4344) WISE-Amsterdam - Many of the demonstrators were from Kungliao village in northern Taiwan, site of the planned power station 40 km (25 miles) east of Taipei. Others were aborigines from the southeastern island of Lanyu where Taiwan dumps nuclear waste.

The protesters attacked the ruling Nationalist Party for its decision to build the nuclear plant. The Nationalist-dominated parliament approved the budget for the long-delayed plant in 1994. Construction has yet to start. Costs are estimated at US$6.4 billion.

Plans by Taipower to expand nuclear power generation have been on hold since construction of the fourth block with 2 reactor- units was cancelled in the early 1980s. Taipower tried many times to revive the facility. The government is now fully committed to the project, but Taipower faces another hurdle in the shape of the increasingly vociferous antinuclear movement. On 29 May last year, some 20,000 people demonstrated against nuclear energy.


  • Reuter, 3 September 1995
  • Far Eastern Economic Review, 30 June 1994

Contact: The Asian Ecological Society, Box 843, Thungai University, Taichung, Taiwan 40704.
Tel & Fax: +886 4 359 5622

Demonstration Taiwan against NPP

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 24 1994) On May 29, an estimated 20,000 anti-nuclear activists marched though Taipei in the island's largest protest against the construction of a fourth nuclear power plant.

(414.4101) WISE Amsterdam - Members of more than 100 environmental groups across Taiwan and representatives from Japanese anti-nuclear organizations took part in the demonstration.

The demonstrators stopped at the American Institute in Taiwan to protest U.S. firms selling nuclear technology to Taiwan, and at the ruling party headquarters to demand a ban on nuclear power generation. The state-run Taiwan Power Company operates three nuclear power plants and plans to build three more. Many islanders are concerned about the plants' safety but Taipower promised they are "200 per cent safe".

Meanwhile the chairman of state-owned utility Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and his wife slept at a nuclear power plant compound on June 3/4 in a bid to blunt opposition to construction of a new nuclear plant. "I'm in good spirits. I plan to take my wife and children again next week," he said.

President Lee Teng-hui had ordered Taipower executives to sleep at nuclear plant compounds after protests against construction of the new nuclear plant increased.

In a referendum on May 22, residents of Kungliao Village on the outskirts of Taipei voted down construction of the new plant (see WISE NC 413.4097). Work on the new US$6.4 billion plant, located 40 km (25 miles) east of Taipei, was suspended for six years because of environmental protests following the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union in 1986. The government revived the project in 1992 and construction work has resumed.


  • die Tageszeitung (FRG), 30 May, 1994
  • Greenbase, May 29 & June 5, 1994

Contact: Duncan Marsh, The Asian Ecological Society, Box 843, Thungai University, Taichung, Taiwan 40704.
Tel & Fax: +886 4 359 5622

Lobby & opposition for Taiwan's fourth NPP

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 3, 1994) On May 22, 58% of the residents of Kungliao, in Taipei County, voted in a referendum on the building of the NT$ 116 billion (US$4,750 million) nuclear power plant. More than 96% of those who turned out for the vote cast their ballots against the plant.

(413.4097) WISE Amsterdam - Kungliao Township chief Chao Kuo-tung said the result showed that Kungliao's people do not want the plant to be built in their backyard.

Minister of Economic Affairs of Taiwan Chiang Pinkung said the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant is the set policy of the government that has been approved by the Legislative Yuan, and that it is impossible to change this.

He said his ministry will actively seek support from legislators and communicate with the residents of Kungliao Township in order to make the construction plan go through smoothly. He added that electricity is important for the development of the nation and the economy.

Chang Szemin, president of the Taiwan Power Company, which has invited French and U.S. firms to bid for the contract, said the company would not accept the result of the plebiscite since it did not reflect the opinion of all 21 million residents in Taiwan. "Taipower will continue to communicate with the residents and tell them the importance of building the plant," he said. The plan has triggered numerous protests from anti-nuclear activists since it was first proposed in 1984. Some of the protests have turned into bloody riots, with one policeman killed and more than 100 people, including police, injured.

Opposition legislators said after the plebiscite they would push for a legislature meeting to freeze the budget of the proposed plant and promised "violent action" if ruling Kuomintang legislators attempted to boycott the motion. Last year the Legislature passed the NT$ 116 billion budget for the construction of the plant.

Minister Chiang said he and two top Taipower executives will all resign to take responsibility if the budget plan is rejected by lawmakers. Liu Tai-ying, president of the Taiwan General Re-search Institute, warned of possible perils if the plant is not built. Basically, he said, the industrial policy is the energy policy. If the public cannot act rationally in dealing with the plant, but continues to be emotional by bloc-king major construction projects here, Taiwan will face economic recession such as in Latin America and the Philippines.

Vincent Siew, Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, said last year each individual consumed an average of 4,927 kilo-watts of energy, and by the year 2000 the consumption will reach 7,000 kilo-watts. The important role played by electricity is irreplaceable, he said. A survey by the Gallup Organization released the day after the plebiscite showed that 57.8% of the 2,530 respondents nationwide support the construction, with 19.5% opposed and the rest expressing no opinion.

Source: China Economic News Service, Greenbase 24 May, 1994
Contact: Duncan Marsh, The Asian Ecological Society, Box 843, Thungai University, Taichung, Taiwan 40704. Tel & Fax: +886 4 359 5622.

Taiwan wants dump N-waste at sea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(October 19, 1990) Taiwan is considering dumping radioactive wastes from its nuclear power industry into the ocean. A report by Dr. Chao Min Tsai of the Atomic Energy Council, and Taiwan's most senior official involved in nuclear waste disposal, and C. Chung of the Institute of Nuclear Science claims, "Among several alternatives for the final disposal of radioactive waste, in particular low-level waste, ocean dumping will probably prove the most feasible method."

(340.3401) WISE Amsterdam - Taiwan, like many countries which went into nuclear energy in a big way, is now facing a waste disposal crisis. It began its nuclear power program in 1978 and its nuclear industry continues to grow. The report notes that because Taiwan is densely populated, "radioactive waste could be a serious hazard if not properly handled." The way it has chosen to handle its growing stockpile of low-level radioactive waste so far is to dump it on tiny Lan-Yu island, 75 km south of the mainland. Since 1982, Taiwan has shipped 66,000 drums of the waste to Lan-yu, which it describes as a "temporary" storage site.



Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Byelorussian SSR, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Gabon, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lybian Arab Jamahiriya, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukrainian SSR, United Arab Emirates, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia, Zaire.

With current storage facilities expected to be full within three years, Taiwan is looking for a permanent disposal site. Dr. Tsai says ocean dumping in the deep sea trenches of the north Pacific is the most feasible and economic option. But, he says, Taiwan would only go ahead with that option if it was internationally acceptable.

In 1985, nations party to the London Dumping Convention (LDC) declared a moratorium on the dumping of nuclear waste at sea. The LDC is one of the most important global conventions for the prevention of marine pollution. More than 60 countries are party to the Convention, which meets annually in London and is responsible for regulating the disposal of wastes at sea from ships, aircraft, and other man-made structures. Their moratorium on nuclear waste is due to stay in place until an international panel of experts has finished a review of dumping practices by 1995.

The moratorium is now under threat from a number of nations who wish to resume ocean dumping as soon as possible. They include the UK, Japan, France and the US - all of whom are faced, like Taiwan, with a growing radioactive waste crisis onshore. Although the moratorium will not be formally reviewed by the LDC until 1991 or 1992, it is expected that contracting parties wishing to resume dumping will intensify their campaign at this year's meeting to ensure the moratorium is lifted. This year's meeting is to take place from 29 October through 2 November.

Even if the moratorium stays in place for some time, Taiwan is prepared. Dr. Tsai says that the next option would be a near-shore sub-seabed disposal site and that he hopes work on a facility will begin within two years.

It is unclear at this stage whether sub-seabed facilities are covered by the moratorium. Australia's Dr. Dominic De Stoop, chairman of the international panel of experts which is reviewing all aspects of nuclear dumping at sea - and who opposes any sea dumping whether it is in the ocean or below the sea floor - says that because there is no direct contact with the ocean (at least initially), sub-seabed facilities are not covered. But he admits there is ambiguity on this.

Note: The LDC will be meeting at: International Maritime Organisation, 4, Albert Embankment, London SE1, UK, tel: 071 735 7611.


  • Pacific News Bulletin, August 1990, p.14
  • Greenpeace press brief, 15 Oct. 1990 (via GreenNet,, gn topic 96, 15 Oct. 1990)
  • ABC Radio, 6 Sept. 1990 (via GreenNet, gn.nuclear, gn topic 132, 10 Sept. 1990).

Contact: NFIP/Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, P0 Box 3148, Auckland Central PO, Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Elisabeth Mealey, Greenpeace Communications, 30-31 Islington Green, London Ni 8XE, UK, tel: 071 515 0275.