Taiwan to complete repackaging of Orchid Island nuclear waste in 2020

Decommissioning period for first nuclear plant to start in December: AEC

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A nuclear waste storage facility.

A nuclear waste storage facility. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - In a report to be presented to the Legislative Yuan next Monday, the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council (AEC) says the repackaging of nuclear waste on Orchid Island should be completed by September 2020.

For decades, low-radioactive waste from Taiwan’s three nuclear plants has been stored on the island, which lies off the coast of Taitung County and is mostly inhabited by indigenous people.

Repeated protests amid health and safety concerns led to attempts to find alternative storage sites, while the current government promised to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025.

On August 6, the local government on Orchid Island wrote to state utility Taiwan Power Corporation (Taipower) that it agreed with the resumption of transfers of repackaged nuclear waste, the Central News Agency reported Saturday.

Taipower replied that it expected the repackaging operation, which was reportedly based on some of the original barrels being corroded, would be completed by September 2020.

As to the denuclearization plan by 2025, next Monday’s AEC report stated that the first nuclear plant, located on Taiwan’s north coast in New Taipei City, would enter its decommissioning period in December, CNA reported.

The AEC added that Taipower needed to submit a decommissioning plan for the second nuclear plant, also in New Taipei City, by the end of this year, and one for the third nuclear plant, located near the beach resort of Kenting in Pingtung County, in 2021.