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Taiwan N-waste: North Korea or Marshalls?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 26, 1997) On January 11, Taiwan signed an agreement with North Korea about the storage of nuclear waste in a North Korean waste storage site. First shipments were expected during the next months. Until now no shipment has taken place and there are rumors that the deal is off due to political pressure.

(478.4748) WISE Amsterdam -During the 5th No Nukes Asia Forum (September 1-7 1997 in Manila, Philippines), one of the main topics was the announced shipments of the Taiwanese radwaste to North Korea (see WISE NC 465.4622: 'Taiwan: Radwaste to North Korea'). There have been lots of international protest against this deal, putting much pressure on the Taiwanese government.

Although not totally clear the situation is mainly as follows: the Taiwanese Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has placed the application of Taipower on hold, because "the construction of the North Korean facility is not yet complete". This is the official reason, but the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), the local leading environmental organization, says this means most likely the end of the waste deal. Renata Tsu, campaigner for TEPU, said: "They are looking for an excuse to leave the option of North Korea without loss of face. They knew from the beginning that the site in North Korea would never meet any international standard."

Because of the international pressure on the Taiwanese government (especially by the United States and China), the TEPU does not expect the shipments to take place. They now think Taipower is looking to the Marshall Islands as a possible internationally acceptable dumpsite. Taipower is in a hurry. It promised the Yami people, living on Orchid Island, location of the countryþs current but too small storage site, to remove the nuclear waste from the island by 2002. Despite payments of quite large amounts of money to local village mayors and citizens, it has been impossible to identify any other possible location in Taiwan itself.

On September 7, a small group of Greenpeace activists protested in downtown Taipei against the plan to ship 200,000 barrels of radwaste to North Korea. The protestors, dressed as barrels of radioactive waste, unfurled two banners, one in English and the other in Chinese, which read, "No nuclear waste export." They also distributed leaflets to passers-by.


  • Current developments of nuclear energy policies and the anti-nuclear movement in Taiwan, 1997, paper presented by the Green Party of Taiwan, during the 5th No Nukes Asia Forum, Manila, September 1-7 1997
  • AFP, 7 September 1997

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), No. 29, Lane 128, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-3636 419; Fax: +886-2-3623 458