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28 February 2024

Taiwan may ship nuclear waste to France

By Agencies
Taiwan is mulling transporting its nuclear waste to France for reprocessing as two of the island's radioactive waste storage sites will reach capacity by 2011, a report said Sunday.

State-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) last year applied to expand the storage facilities but has so far not received approval from the Atomic Energy Council over environmental impact considerations, the China Times said.

An official at the council voiced fears the plan may draw strong protests from international conservationists if approved, it said.

Storage at the two older nuclear plants in northern Taipei county will reach capacity in March 2010 and March 2011, respectively, the newspaper said.

If Taipower fails to win approval to expand storage, it will have to shut down the two plants, which jointly supply about 4.8 per cent of the island's electricity, it said.

Against this backdrop, Taipower is considering a plan to reprocess high-level radioactive waste in France, the paper said, adding that French nuclear technology group Areva had presented a proposal to Taipower.

However, when asked to comment on the report, Chou Yi-yueh, a Taipower spokesman, said he was not aware of the plan.

Taipower operates three nuclear power plants and is building a fourth. Since its first nuclear plant became operational in 1978, nuclear power has generated at least 180,000 drums of radioactive waste.

Taipower had previously planned to ship the waste to North Korea but was forced to halt the scheme under pressure from South Korea and international conservationists.

The opposition Kuomintang, which won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections earlier this month, is more in favour of nuclear power than the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which has been pushing to make the island nuclear-free.  (AFP)