Taiwan VP reassures Lanyu residents government will dispose of nuclear waste

About 100,000 barrels of nuclear waste from nation’s 3 operational nuclear power plants have been stored on Orchid Island since 1982

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Lai Ching-te (Presidential Office photo)

Lai Ching-te (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said that disposing of the nuclear waste stored on Orchid Island (Lanyu Township), an outlying island off the coast of the eastern county of Taitung.

During a visit to the island on Monday (June 22), Lai also reiterated that the government will deliver the promised retroactive compensation of NT$2.55 billion (US$85 million) to the islanders for the storing of the radioactive waste, according to a China Times report.

Delivering an address at a millet and flying fish festival, the vice president said, "Looking down from the airplane, [I saw] blue seawater and an emerald paradise," referring to Orchid Island.

"The government did not get permission from islanders before shipping nuclear waste to the island to store, and therefore they should be awarded retroactive compensation," the VP said. "Disposing of nuclear waste [on Orchid Island] is an established policy, regardless of which party is in power.”

According to reports, about 100,000 barrels of nuclear waste from the nation's three operational nuclear power plants have been stored at a complex on the island since 1982. The waste has been at the center of many protests initiated by Orchid Island residents over the years.