Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) is considering construction of a facility for interim storage for nuclear waste, as well as the possibility of building an undersea site to store such waste permanently. It said that it is planning to invest TWD80bn ($2.54bn) to construct a surface facility on an uninhabited or sparsely populated island for interim storage to enhance monitoring efficiency.
The company sent an assessment report on the feasibility of building an interim storage site to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) at the end of September.
As to permanent disposal, Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu noted that, in July 2012, the ministry had announced two potential sites - Wuqiu Township in Kinmen County and Daren Township in eastern Taiwan's Taitung County. However, Wuqiu, a small islet, was considered too small for a land-based facility, and the local governments at both locations strongly opposed the idea, Lin said. For this reason, the final disposal site could be on the seabed off the coast of Wuqiu or Daren, Lin said.
Taipower could also use an uninhabited island with good geological conditions to build an undersea tunnel to the undersea site, which the company said will avoid the problem of possible radioactive leakage. Whether the island for the interim storage and final disposal could be the same island or two separate islands is still under discussion.
Meanwhile, Tsai Hui-hsun, a member of the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform, said that the seabed around Taiwan is highly unstable, and the group's initially response to the undersea site idea was that it is "not feasible”. The choice for a nuclear waste site is complicated and requires professional geological scientific judgment, Tsai said.