Group asks timetable from Taiwan government to remove nuclear waste from Orchid Island

A youth organization on Orchid Island (Lanyu) on August 1 urged the government to take action to remove nuclear waste that has been stored on the isla (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--A youth organization on Orchid Island (Lanyu), an island off Taiwan’s southeastern coast, on August 1 urged the government to take action to remove nuclear waste that has been stored on the island for decades instead of just paying lip service to the cause.

Lanyu Youth Action Alliance called on Orchid Island people to raise the flags that bear the language and signs of calling for removal of nuclear waste from the island.

About 100,000 barrels of nuclear waste from the nation’s three operational nuclear power plants have been stored at a nuclear waste storage complex on Orchid Island since 1982.

In the morning of August 1, which was designated as the Indigenous Peoples' Day, the group went to the nuclear waste storage site on the island to express their protest against the government’s inaction to remove the waste. The group asked the government to come up with a clear timetable to implement removal of the nuclear waste, and reasserted that the people of Orchid Island will not accept any apology from the government before the nuclear waste is removed.   

A year ago, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ordered a probe into how Taiwan’s nuclear waste winded up on the island.

The Council of Indigenous Peoples said that the probe has yielded results, which indicated that the then Premier Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and his successor Premier Sun Yun-suan (孫運璿) made the decision to store the nuclear waste on Orchid Island without giving advance notice to the indigenous Tao people residing on the island.     

Orchid Island is a 45 km² high island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan Island and separated from the Batanes of the Philippines by the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait. It is governed as Lanyu Township of Taitung County. The island is home to the Tao, an ethnic minority group who reportedly migrated to the island from the Batan Archipelago 800 years ago.