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Radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island safe, says AEC

Report says only 4.88% of examined barrels were seriously damaged

Radioactive waste stored on Orchid Island safe, says AEC

The radioactive waste stored on Orchid island is safely contained and there are no risks of harmful radioactive release, the Atomic Energy Council said yesterday.
AEC officials said radioactivity monitoring on Orchid Island's storage site over the years has also shown that the environment and ecology around the island has not been affected.
The officials were responding to reports following an examination by the Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) that some barrels of low-level solidified radioactive waste stored in trenches have been seriously corroded and that some have burst.
The officials noted that Taipower started the examination December 13 and had examined 696 barrels of radioactive waste from the first storage trench as of February 20.
Among them, 34 barrels, or 4.88 percent, were seriously damaged, while 577 barrels were slightly damaged and 85 barrels needed to have corrosion removed and be repainted. \The seriously damaged barrels will be smashed and their contents repackaged, they said.
"Although some storage barrels have become corroded or misshapen, they have remained in the sealed trenches and there is no risk of radioactive release," they said. Taipower officials assured the public that there is no cause for alarm.
The disposal site on Orchid Island mainly accepts low-level solidified radioactive waste from the medical, agricultural, industrial and academic sectors and from nuclear power plants. The site began to operate in May 1982 and stopped accepting additional nuclear waste in April 1996. A total of 97,672 barrels are currently stored in 23 trenches on the island.
With the high temperatures, humidity and salt air on the island, some storage barrels had shown signs of corrosion and the AEC had asked Taipower to re-examine them as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taipower are looking for a final disposal site under a statute governing the establishment of a final disposal site for low-level radioactive waste.
After the inauguration of the final site, the waste currently stored on Orchid Island and at Taipower's three nuclear power plants will be relocated to the final storage site.
Reports by the China Times said Taipower have chosen four possible sites - Mutan township in Pingtung County, Tajen and Tawu townships in Taitung County and Wanan township on Penghu - to establish the final storage site.


Updated : 2021-04-20 18:37 GMT+08:00