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Taiwan: welds falsified in new scandal at Lungmen

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 28, 2002) The construction of Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (Lungmen), which was halted and then re-instated despite protests involving around 30,000 people, has hit a new scandal. According to the Atomic Energy Council, about 52% of the materials in the reactor pedestal were replaced by "inferior goods which are less pressure-resistant".

(570.5420) WISE Amsterdam - The inferior materials were used in constructing the second to fifth layers of the pedestal which is intended to support the nuclear reactor. According to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor's Office, inferior welding materials were used at 282 points, and an attempt was made to hide this by covering with materials that meet quality standards. The Atomic Energy Council said that about 52% of materials were replaced with "inferior goods which are less pressure-resistant".

The state-run China Shipbuilding Corp. is responsible for building the reactor pedestal at the 2-reactor nuclear power station for Taipower, the state-owned utility. China Shipbuilding in turn subcontracted the work to New Asia Construction and Development Corporation.

On 15 June, the Ministry of Economic Affairs handed out punishments in the form of demerits to 22 officials of the two state-run firms for "allowing sloppy workmanship." Not a single high-ranking official was in that list, but prosecutors now say they suspect high-ranking officials of China Shipbuilding or other influential political figures may have received commissions in exchange for awarding contracts to certain subcontractors.

Anti-nuclear activists and lawmakers have demanded an expansion of the investigation, saying that there are probably other construction defects. Lai Wei-chieh, secretary-general of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, said: "Construction defects surrounding the pedestal were just part of Taipower's problems. We hope prosecutors can probe into the problem of Taipower's failure to supervise plant construction thoroughly."

The construction of Lungmen has been highly controversial, with protests involving tens of thousands of people. The issue even led to the resignation of Tang Fei as premier of Taiwan (see WISE News Communique 535.5204: "Taiwan: Committee votes to stop construction of Lungmen, premier resigns"). Construction was halted in October 2000 (see WISE News Communique 538.5217: "Taiwan: Lungmen cancellation announced, political row continues") only to be re-instated in February 2001 (see WISE News Communique 543.5245, "Taiwan: two sides to the nuclear coin").

The country's Third Nuclear Power Plant has also recently experienced problems, with a shutdown caused by failure of a component on 6 June and another caused by water spillage from a cracked pipe on 16 June.

Sources: The Taipei Times Online, 12, 18 and 23 June 2002

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), 2nd Fl., 107, section 3, Ting-Chou Road, Taipei, Taiwan Tel: +886 2 2367 8335 or 2363 6419. Fax: +886 2 2364 4293

Taiwan: no nukes, no waste!

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 17, 2002) Expressing their wrath at the government's failure to remove nuclear waste from the island, the Tao tribe of Orchid Island launched an island wide protest on 1 May 2002 to demand that Taiwan's government set up a solid schedule and promise to remove nuclear waste from the island.

(568.5407) Green Party Taiwan - The temporary repository of radioactive waste in Orchid Island was opened in 1982, and has already stored 97,672 barrels of low-level radioactive waste, which accounts to 57% of total production (see WISE News Communique 387-8, "Orchid Island: Taiwan's Nuclear Dumpsite").

Taiwan's anti-nuclear organizations have launched campaigns to support the Orchid Island residents. On 3 May 2002, in front of the Legislative Yuan, representatives of environmental NGOs denounce the failure of the relocation project as disrespecting environmental justice. The living standard of Orchid Island residents is much lower than that in Taiwan, and for them nuclear power is unnecessary and unwanted. However, Orchid island residents have to bear the risk of nuclear waste produced from the main island of Taiwan.

Anti-nuclear organizations demand that Taiwan's government remove the nuclear waste from Orchid Island. The relocation project must not be postponed because of the difficulty of finding a final storage site. It is proposed by anti-nuclear organizations that the government should relocate the nuclear waste to a military area or a nuclear prohibited site.

After the immediate response of the government to the aborigines' protect on 1 May, residents nearby the first, second and third nuclear power plants launched protests as well. Those residents are concerned that their health may have been threatened by the nearby high level radioactive waste storage and nuclear fuel. The fisheries living nearby the second nuclear power plant have even demanded that Taiwan Power Company pay them 26 billion NT dollars (US$730 million) in compensation.

Anti-nuclear organizations consider that the problem of nuclear waste is due to the mistaken nuclear energy policy of the government. Since the Progressive Democratic Party (DPP) became the ruling party, attempts had been made to correct the mistaken nuclear energy policy when the Executive Yuan announced a halt to the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant on 27 October 2000 (see WISE News Communique 538.5217, "Taiwan: Lungmen cancellation announced, political row continues"). However, the boycott of the opposing parties in the Legislative Yuan resulted in a resolution reinstating the project, forcing the government to resume construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant on February 14, 2001 (see WISE News Communique 543.5245, "Taiwan: Two sides to the nuclear coin").

Any foreign negotiation with North Korea, Russia, China or even the Solomon Islands in seeking the final storage site for nuclear waste would never provide a solution, if the opposing parties continually insist on the mistaken nuclear energy policy. Withdrawing the nuclear energy policy is the only way to resolve the problem. Therefore, anti-nuclear organizations call on the government and opposition parties to address the welfare of the people by halting the fourth nuclear power plant as soon as possible. It is also essential to decommission the three already built nuclear power plants, letting all the people enjoy a nuclear-free Taiwan and live without any risk of nuclear waste.

Source and contact: Fenlan Lai, Green Party Taiwan
e-mail: Tel: +886-2-23621362

Taiwan: Two sides to the nuclear coin

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(February 16, 2001) The decision to cancel Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project (Lungmen) has been reversed as part of an agreement between the Premier Chang Chung-hsiung and Legislative Speaker Wan Jin-pyng. However, the same agreement also states that the ultimate goal is a nuclear-free Taiwan.

(543.5245) WISE Amsterdam - This agreement, signed on 13 February 2001, is the latest attempt to mend the major political crisis in Taiwan. The question as to whether the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (Lungmen) should be completed has caused a major political crisis between the Democratic People's Party (DPP) government, elected in March 2000, and the nationalist party KuoMinTang (KMT), which had been in power for the previous 50 years.

Undisclosed nuclear research in Taiwan
It was revealed in Nucleonics Week that IAEA safeguards inspectors discovered in the mid-1990s that Taiwan continued to carry out undisclosed nuclear research in breach of its IAEA safeguards agreement. It was alleged that Taiwan was investigating a fuel cycle in which thorium-232 is irradiated to produce fissile uranium-233. The US Government has custodial responsibility for enforcing Taiwan's IAEA safeguards, but the US does not appear to have taken formal action against Taiwan in this matter.
Nucleonics Week, 15 February 2001

The crisis has already cost the job of the previous Premier, Tang Fei (see WISE News Communique 535.5204: "Taiwan: Committee votes to stop construction of Lungmen, premier resigns"). The new Premier, Chang Chung-hsiung, announced on 27 October 2000 that Lungmen will be cancelled, pledging at the same time to make Taiwan nuclear free (see WISE News Communique 538.5217: "Taiwan: Lungmen cancellation announced, political row continues").

In the latest agreement, construction of Lungmen is to be reinstated, but the aim to make Taiwan a nuclear-free country has for the first time been accepted by the KMT. The agreement also says that the Executive Yuan (Cabinet) will submit a relevant (i.e. nuclear) energy bill to the Legislature, which must be agreed by all parties. Finally, the opposition parties agree to resume dialogue with the ruling party once the construction of Lungmen re-starts.

Premier Chang said that that the decision to resume the Lungmen project was a "bitter" but "unavoidable" decision. He suggested that there were more battles to come, but "stability" right now was the paramount concern.

Protests against Lungmen continue. Two protestors set themselves on fire, one in Tainan on 28 January and one outside the legislature building in Taipei on 29 January, in protest against the developments. Another large demonstration is planned for 24 February.


  • Taiwan News, 14 February 2001
  • Nucleonics Week, 15 February 2001
  • emails from Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu and others, 14 February 2001
  • Taipei Times, 30 January 2001

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), 2nd Fl., 107, section 3, Ting-Chou Road, Taipei, Taiwan,
tel: +886 2 2367 8335 or 2363 6419, fax: +886 2 2364 4293


Taiwan: Lungmen cancellation announced, political row continues

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Booklet: Nuclear Energy a dead end

(December 1, 2000) Taiwan's anti-nuclear government announced on 27 October 2000 that the partly built Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project (Lungmen) will be cancelled. The opposition reacted with anger to the announcement, calling for impeachment of the president.

(538.5217) WISE Amsterdam - (538.5217) WISE Amsterdam The recommendation to cancel the project was followed by the resignation of the previous Premier, Tang Fei (see WISE News Communique 535.5204). The new Premier, Chang Chung-hsiung, made the announcement of the plant's cancellation, pledging also to make Taiwan nuclear-free. "We must make a rational, responsible choice for the sake of Taiwan's posterity" he told a news conference.

The nuclear question was one of the issues in last March's elections, which resulted in an end to the 50-year rule of the nationalist KuoMinTang (KMT) party, and victory for the anti-nuclear Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). However, the DPP faces considerable problems in making Taiwan nuclear-free. Besides the KMT, which is now the largest opposition party in Taiwan, the People First Party and the New Party also fear power shortages from the project's cancellation. The three opposition parties together dominate the 221-member legislature, and plan to co-operate in trying to reverse the decision.

The KMT is particularly annoyed that the announcement came less than an hour after a conciliatory meeting between President Chen Shui-bian and Lien Chan, chairman of the KMT. Lien described the bad timing as "very rude, impolite and childish", and Wang Jin-pyng, KMT vice chairman, called for the President's impeachment. However James Soong, leader of the People First Party, thinks this would cause too much political turmoil. Instead, he supports a no-confidence vote against the cabinet.

Meanwhile, anti-nuclear protests in Taiwan continue. On 25 October, dozens of anti-nuclear activists threw empty nuclear waste storage barrels into the square in front of KMT headquarters in Taipei. "Three operational nuclear plants, built under inappropriate policy made by former KMT administrations, have turned several towns into nuclear dump sites," said a resident of a town near an existing nuclear power plant. Protestors said KMT officials should take some nuclear waste home with them to experience for themselves the fear of contamination.

WISE Kaliningrad has obtained documents on an illegal deal concerning import of Taiwanese radioactive waste to the far east of Russia. Vladimir Slivyak from Ecodefense and WISE Kaliningrad e-mailed details to local Taiwanese groups, saying "Russian environmental and citizens groups will actively and successfully oppose any efforts to construct a repository that includes the added complication of foreign radioactive waste."

NOTE: Each of Taiwan's nuclear power plants has two reactors, therefore there are currently six reactors in three plants, and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (Lungmen) was to contain the seventh and eighth reactors.


  • The Taipei Times Online, 26 October 2000
  • Reuters, 27 October 2000 and 30 October 2000
  • WISE News Communique 535.5204: "Taiwan: committee votes to stop construction of Lungmen, premier resigns"

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, #29, Lane 128, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan,
Tel +886 2 363 6419, Fax +886 2 362 3458,

Taiwan: Committee votes to stop construction of Lungmen, premier resigns

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(October 6, 2000) On 3 October 2000, Tang Fei resigned as premier of Taiwan, after some four months in office. His resignation was followed by the resignation of the cabinet the next day in order to allow a cabinet re-shuffle. Tang said that he resigned for health reasons. However his resignation comes after a string of controversies in Taiwanese politics, of which the latest concerned the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project (Lungmen).

(535.5204) WISE Amsterdam - Tang had previously said on 18 September that he would consider resigning if construction of the plant is stopped. His reaction was prompted by the vote of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Re-evaluation Committee, which was nine to six in favor of stopping construction of the Lungmen plant, with the country's seventh and eight reactor.

The plant's construction has long been controversial. The nationalist KuoMinTang (KMT) party, which had been in power for 50 years until the elections last March, has consistently supported the project, which was originally proposed in 1978 by the state-owned power company, Taipower. However environmental groups have long campaigned against the project. There have been many anti-nuclear demonstrations in Taiwan, of which the largest, on 29 May 1994 and 3 September 1995, were attended by about 30,000 people. Parliamentary opposition, particularly from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), caused delays in approving the project's incorporation in the national budget. Construction work finally began in October 1997.

In 1999, a fact-finding inspection of the construction site in Kung Liao valley in Taipei County was carried out by lawmakers of the DPP, which at that time was the opposition party in Taiwan. The lawmakers said they found that 20% of the construction project had already been carried out, including the laying of foundations 20 stories deep to accommodate the reactor despite the fact that the Taipei County government had not yet issued a permit for its construction (see WISE News Communique 508). Despite the findings of this inspection, construction continued, and the project is currently about one-third completed.

After this year's presidential elections in March, the DPP for the first time became part of the government. However, although the President, Chen Shui-bian, is from the DPP, the KMT still has a majority in the elected Legislature. Lungmen became an object of controversy, since one of the DPP's election pledges was to stop construction of the nuclear power plant, while the KMT continue to insist that it must be completed. The new government ordered Taipower to put off soliciting bids for further construction work and set up the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Re-evaluation Committee to re-consider the project.

Local people have also vehemently opposed the project. In 1994, for example, Kung Liao Valley residents voted 96% against the project in a referendum. This and other referendums (see WISE News Communique 531.5183) were ignored by the KMT party.

On 15 September, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Re-evaluation Committee, voted nine to six in favor of stopping construction of the new plant. After this result became public, local people set off firecrackers in celebration.

On 30 September, a press release from the Ministry of Economics also recommended cancellation of the project. In response to Taipower's earlier claims that northern Taiwan will face a 15% shortfall in electricity requirements by 2007 if the plant does not go ahead, the Ministry of Economics has proposed three alternatives to prevent power shortages in northern Taiwan: building privately operated electricity generating plants, speeding up completion of a power transmission line to the region and achieving the benefits of "private capital and ingenuity" by privatising the electricity generation industry.

The ministry estimates that the financial loss if construction is halted will be between NT$75.1-90.3 billion (US$2.27-2.72 billion), though if the reactors and the turbines can be re-sold then this figure would be reduced to about NT$47.6 billion (about US$1.44 billion). These figures are understood to include compensation to be paid to the constructors, including General Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Completion of the plant, on the other hand, would cost over NT$120 billion (US$3.62 billion). If privately operated power plants were built instead, however, the estimated cost is NT$75 billion (US$2.26 billion).

Another plan was proposed by the DPP. By canceling plans for two additional naphtha cracker plants, which the DPP claims are unnecessary because of Taiwan's overproduction of ethylene, energy needs would decrease, avoiding a power shortfall.

The final decision on whether or not to cancel the project will be taken by the Executive Yuan. A legal controversy has arisen over this. Lin Chuan, an official of the Executive Yuan, has claimed that the government may have trouble finding a legal basis to stop the project, since the Budget Law states that the government can only stop using a budget in the case of a national emergency. However DPP legislator Lai Chin-lin has argued that no law would be violated, since scrapping the project "only involves a change of policy and failure to execute the budget". However the KMT's majority in the Legislature could still cause problems with discontinuing the budget.


  • The Taipei Times Online, 16, 19, 22 and 26 September and 4 October 2000
  • Nucleonics Week, 21 September 2000
  •, 4 October 2000
  • UI News Briefing 00.39, 20-26 September
  • Taiwan Ministry of Economics press release, 30 September 2000
  • Email from Vice-President of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, 20 June 2000

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, #29, Lane 128, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, tel +886 2 363 6419, Fax +886 2 362 3458
Web site

Taiwan to scrap fourth nuclear project?!

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(June 9, 2000) After years of intense campaigning, the coalition of environmental groups was celebrating the outcome of the last elections in Taiwan, which resulted in the new government that was formed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

(531.5183) WISE Amsterdam - New Prime Minister Chen Shui-bian won the March elections. For decades now, his party had promised to scrap the Lungmen NPP project on environmental grounds, and phase out Taiwan's six operating reactors in 10 years. As could be expected, however, the DPP now seems to have withdrawn from its earlier firm statements. The state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has been putting pressure on the new government to reconsider the promises, but environmentalists have been urging the DPP to honor its commitment.

The country's fourth nuclear station involves two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) with a total capacity of 2,700 MW. Taipower has already spent US$1.4 billion on the complex, situated only 35 kilometers northeast of the capital, Taipei, in Kung Liao Valley. With 18% of the country's generated electricity being nuclear, Taipower claims the new plant is necessary for the island's continued economic growth. Experts of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Association (TEPU) argue, however, that the growing demand for electricity could be met with a thermal power plant fueled with methanol or other recyclable fuels.

After publishing we received in an email some corrections from TEPU:

1. The March election in Taiwan is to select new PRESIDENT not Prime Minister. In Taiwan, the Prime Minister is named by the President.
2. In the past, DPP certainly agreed to phase out the existing NPPs. However, no time table was scheduled.
3. The biggest - ever anti-nuclear demonstration occured around 1994, 1995. In both occasions, around 30 thousands people attended the demonstrations on May 29, 1994 and September 3, 1995. The latter time is in coincidence with the No Nuke Asian Forum in Taiwan. Many of Asian anti-nuclear activists also participated that demonstrations. Total number of participants dropped in later years. Different media gave different number of participants on May 13, ranges from 2000 to 5000, depends on the time of the process.
4. It is not sure whether there will be a referendum. The official status is : to have a thorough evaluation on NPP4 in four months. So far there is no law on referendum. If referendum is proposed. Then the law has to formulate first. Besides, there are the four previously held referendum exist already.
Source: Gloria Kuang-Jung Hsu, Ph.D. Vice President,
Taiwan Environmental Protection Union

On May 13, anti-nuclear groups supported by DPP legislators and Taipei County politicians, organized the biggest-ever demonstration against nuclear energy. Some 2,000 activists paraded through Taipei's streets and voiced their protest against the Taipower headquarters. Although it was urged to join the protest, the DPP leadership failed to attend. This was seen as a sign that the new government does not intend to scrap the project.

The government, sworn in on May 20 and already under terrific pressure from both environmentalists and the Taipower lobby, will most probably decide to organize a referendum on the future of the NPPs. This would be held after the release of a new study on "all costs", to be submitted by a reassessment panel called "NPP4 Reevaluation Committee", made up of government officials and environmentalists. This committee is expected to report to the government by September 2000. In the meantime, the new minister of economics, Lin Hsin-yi, ordered Taipower to indefinitely put off soliciting bids for remaining construction work on the controversial plant.

Taipower first proposed the building of the Lungmen plant in 1978. The start of the project was postponed several times due to a lack of demand for electricity in 1982, suspicion over nuclear safety, and the Chernobyl accident in 1986. But later, the construction was actively pursued. In May 1996, Taipower finally awarded the project to General Electric.

Earlier referendums on the project showed strong opposition to the project. In 1994, Kung Liao Valley residents voted 96% against the project, and the same year the Taipei County referendum resulted in a 89% no-vote. In 1996 a referendum was held in Taipei which led to a 53% vote against the plans, followed by a 1998 referendum in Ilan County with 64% votes in the negative. The results of these referendums were, however, ignored by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party which has since been defeated at the elections.


  • AFP, 2 May 2000
  • Central News Agency Taiwan, 6 May 2000
  • Nucleonics Week, 18 May 2000
  • Email from Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, 6 June 2000

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), 5th Fl. No. 1-4, Lane 183-11, HerPing East Road Sect. 1, Taipei, Taiwan 106 Tel: +886-2-2393 7011; Fax: +886-2-2391 5997


Taiwan again looking for country for waste storage

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 19, 1999) Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) has held exploratory and detailed talks with entities in the United States and the Russian Federation, and with government officials in Central Asian republics about disposing some of Taiwan's conditioned low- level waste (LLW) in a Central Asian repository. Shipment of waste to North Korea is no longer considered.

(521.5110) WISE Amsterdam - Taiwan has been actively seeking a foreign site for radwaste disposal since the mid-1990s, after local protests erupted when Taiwan began moving LLW to Orchid Island, in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Taiwan. This island has a unique ecosystem and is home to 3,000 Yami, the most isolated of Taiwan's indigenous people. The storage at that facility has reached full capacity.

Until last year, Taiwan had sought to send the waste to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after it had signed in January 1997 a contract with the DPRK to bury the LLW in one of two shafts in a former mine in North Korea (see also WISE News Communique 488.4845, Taiwan reconsiders domestic N-waste storage). The plan was dropped after South Korea objected strongly, because Taiwan's payments would have aided the repressive DPRK regime and because South Korea itself coveted the designated repository site for Korean waste after the two Koreas are eventually reunited. Taiwan has also been evaluating an offer from China to take the waste in exchange for commercial and political concessions which Taiwan would not accept.

According to the current plan, Taiwan's LLW would be brought to a site which would also be used to dispose of uranium mill tailings and wastes from other former Soviet Union uranium production. The country taking the waste would, in addition to being paid for hosting the LLW, get assistance in cleaning up the Soviet uranium legacy. The plan to move Taipower's waste to Central Asia calls for 15,000 drums (standard 200 liter). Taipower has about 200,000 LLW drums, of which over 97,000 drums are on Orchid Island. According to Taiwan officals, there are no laws prohibiting Taipower from disposing of nuclear waste at a foreign site. Taipower alone is responsible for conditioning and disposal of its waste. Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) must approve the utility's plans before they can be implemented. The Russian entities would be responsible for engineering and constructing of an LLW repository on the designated uranium processing site. Taipower would pay for the construction of the repository. In addition to providing engineering expertise, the Russian Federation has been facilitating high-level political contacts between Taiwan and the governments of the Central Asian countries.

Source: Nucleonics Week, 21 October 1999
Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union,
4F, No.38, Alley 3, Lane 302, Sec.3, Hor-PingW.Rd. Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-3636419
Fax: +886-2-3623458


DPRK-Taiwan LLW contract fails, DPRK claims compensation. North Korea is claiming compensation payments by Taiwan because the country did not fulfill the LLW waste contract. Negotations to settle the dispute are continuing. DPRK is claiming damages equivalent to several million US dollars which they said they spent preparing a former mine on the coast to recieve the Taiwanese waste. Officials of the country said it has built a port near Pyongsan especially to receive the shipments and that thousands of workers are engaged in preparing the waste disposal site. However, sources claim the DPRK likely wouldn't be successful in that suit since the contract stipulates that any dispute must be argued in Taiwanese court. Nucleonics Week, 4 November 1999


Taiwan announces green light for reactors' construction

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(April 9, 1999) Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) gave the green light to the construction of Taiwan's seventh and eighth nuclear plant on March 24, ending a 17-month examination process. The announcement was followed by two days of student protests, outside the AEC's offices in Taipei. On March 28, more than 3,000 people protested peacefully.

(508.5003) WISE Amsterdam - The nuclear power plant, consisting of two units, to be located on Taiwan's northeast coast in the town of Kungliao, is expected to go on line by June 2005, with a total capacity of 2700 MW. It will bring Taiwan's gross installed nuclear power generating capacity to 7800 MW, about one third of the island's total installed capacity. State-owned Taiwan Power Co, tried to quiet the outcry but said construction would move ahead shortly. The Atomic Energy Council said its nearly two-year review and 9,000 pages of documentation concluded the US$4.8 billion project "adequately ensured public health and safety". US giant General Electric Co. will supply the reactors and generators for US$1.8 billion. Plant superstructure has been under construction for three years.

On the eve of the March 28 mass protest against the decision (and also to commemorate the TMI accident), lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called a news conference to reiterate their opposition to a new nuclear power plant. DPP lawmakers accused Taiwan Power Co. of launching construction on the fourth nuclear power plant before receiving a permit by the Taipei County government. Following a fact-finding inspection to the construction site in Kungliao township in Taipei County, the lawmakers said they found that 20% of the construction project has been carried out, including the laying of a foundation 20 stories deep to accommodate the reactor. Under these circumstances and in the absence of adequate government supervision, the Taiwan people will be in great danger, they claimed.

There has been stiff opposition to the building of the two units, called the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, for almost 20 years. Taipower (the state-owned power utility, and sole provider of electricity in Taiwan) drafted a plan for the plant's construction as early as 1980, but protests and negative public opinion have prevented its passage.

Non-binding referendums have been held on the issue in Taipei County, Taipei City, Ilan County and the northern coastal township of Kungliao, where the plant is to be built. All the referendums have shown that a majority of the public opposes the plant's construction. Although the AEC has approved the plant, TaiPower will still have to seek approval from Taipei County. Taipei County chief Su Chen-chang was at the demonstration and said the county government would not issue a construction license for the plant.


  • Anti Nuke Youth Coalition, 27 March
  • CNA, 27 March
  • China News, 29 March
  • Reuters, 18 and 28 March 1999

TEPU (Taiwan Environmental Protection Unit)
5F, No 1-4 Alley 11
Lane 183, Sec. 1
Hoping East Rd
Tel: +886-2-2393 6957
Fax: +886-2-2362 3458

Taiwan reconsiders domestic N-waste storage

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(March 13, 1998) In January 1997, Taiwan signed an agreement with North Korea to store low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in that country. However, not a single barrel has been transported due to all kinds of problems. Taiwan now reconsiders domestic storage of the waste and has announced six possible sites.

(488.4845) WISE Amsterdam - The signing of the contract on January 11, 1997, gave rise to large protests by environmental organizations and politicial pressure by several countries. Meanwhile, as no action has been taken by Taipower during the past year, North Korea has threatened to file a complaint with the International Court if Taipower fails to fulfill the contract it signed with Pyongyang. Taipower authorities, however, argue that the company has been carrying out its end of the agreement step by step over the past year.

In the past several months there were rumors that Taiwan could not meet the contract because of domestic and international political pressure. Already in December, South Korean newspapers claimed that the deal was off. One of the reasons mentioned was North Korea's failure to complete the storage facility--a disused coal mine 95 kilometers from the demilitarized zone which divides North and South Korea. Taipower officials say that the contract is still valid, adding that the approval process for an export license has been delayed by the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council (AEC).
However, because Taiwan's plan to export (or as they call it, "store") waste to Russia, mainland China and the Marshall Islands all have failed (or are on the brink of failure) Taipower refocused its search on domestic locations. On February 26, Taipower identified six possible locations for the storage of the country's low- and intermediate-level waste. The six were selected in order of preference; number one is a location in the Kinmen county called Hsiaowuchiu. It would be awarded NT$2.1 billion (US$64.6 million) as compensation if the nuclear waste dumping plan is implemented, according to Taipower officials. Another NT$900 million (US$27.6 million) would be presented to the Kinmen county government, the administrative authority for Hsiaowuchiu, as a goodwill gesture.

Since 1982 Taipower has shipped it low- and intermediate-level waste to the Long-men Nuclear Waste Depository at Orchid Island. This island off Taiwan's southern coast has a unique ecosystem and is home to 3,000 Yami, the most isolated of Taiwan's indigenous peoples. The storage at that facility reached full capacity and it was Taipower's plan to remove that waste too and ship it to North Korea. For more information on the deal and protest, see WISE NC's 466.4628 (7 February 1997) and 468.4660 (14 March 1997).


  • The Korean Herald, 19 December 1997
  • Central News Agency of Taiwan, 27 February 1998

Contact: TEPU, No. 29, Lane 128, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan,
Tel: +886-2-3636419; Fax: +886-2-3623458,

Taiwan N-waste: North Korea or Marshalls?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 26, 1997) On January 11, Taiwan signed an agreement with North Korea about the storage of nuclear waste in a North Korean waste storage site. First shipments were expected during the next months. Until now no shipment has taken place and there are rumors that the deal is off due to political pressure.

(478.4748) WISE Amsterdam -During the 5th No Nukes Asia Forum (September 1-7 1997 in Manila, Philippines), one of the main topics was the announced shipments of the Taiwanese radwaste to North Korea (see WISE NC 465.4622: 'Taiwan: Radwaste to North Korea'). There have been lots of international protest against this deal, putting much pressure on the Taiwanese government.

Although not totally clear the situation is mainly as follows: the Taiwanese Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has placed the application of Taipower on hold, because "the construction of the North Korean facility is not yet complete". This is the official reason, but the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), the local leading environmental organization, says this means most likely the end of the waste deal. Renata Tsu, campaigner for TEPU, said: "They are looking for an excuse to leave the option of North Korea without loss of face. They knew from the beginning that the site in North Korea would never meet any international standard."

Because of the international pressure on the Taiwanese government (especially by the United States and China), the TEPU does not expect the shipments to take place. They now think Taipower is looking to the Marshall Islands as a possible internationally acceptable dumpsite. Taipower is in a hurry. It promised the Yami people, living on Orchid Island, location of the countryþs current but too small storage site, to remove the nuclear waste from the island by 2002. Despite payments of quite large amounts of money to local village mayors and citizens, it has been impossible to identify any other possible location in Taiwan itself.

On September 7, a small group of Greenpeace activists protested in downtown Taipei against the plan to ship 200,000 barrels of radwaste to North Korea. The protestors, dressed as barrels of radioactive waste, unfurled two banners, one in English and the other in Chinese, which read, "No nuclear waste export." They also distributed leaflets to passers-by.


  • Current developments of nuclear energy policies and the anti-nuclear movement in Taiwan, 1997, paper presented by the Green Party of Taiwan, during the 5th No Nukes Asia Forum, Manila, September 1-7 1997
  • AFP, 7 September 1997

Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), No. 29, Lane 128, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-3636 419; Fax: +886-2-3623 458

Warm-up for Taiwanese anti-nuke activists

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(September 26, 1997) On September 21, almost 300 Taiwanese anti-nuclear activists staged a mock blockade to protest the construction of the country's fourth nuclear power plant. A walk around the island started to gain support for a public referendum on the continuation of the construction.

(478.4740) WISE Amsterdam -The mock blockade on September 21, called "Anti-nuke landing, land-and- sea blockade", was organized by some 10 public anti-nuclear and environmental protection groups from around the island. "The establishment of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will bring permanent damage to marine life in the area," said Cheng Ching-tung, a Yianliao resident.

After boarding 106 fishing vessels -- all flying banners that read "Oppose the Fourth Nuclear Plant" -- the activists surrounded and firebombed a ship with mock nuclear reactors off Yianliao township. The machinery was marked with effigies in a hand-shake pose, symbolizing the deal between the United States and Japan on supplying the equipment to Taiwan. Activists dropped nets to show their determination to prevent the machinery from being delivered. The activists said the two reactors of the plant are scheduled to arrive at the site, north of the capital Taipei, in November of this year, coming from Japan. Taiwan approved plans to build the US$4.1 billion, 2.700-megawatt nuclear power plant in 1994 after six years of delays and protests following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union. But only in September last year did Taipower give notice that General Electric could start construction (see WISE NC 459.4552: Taipower: GE can start constructing NPP). Taiwan's fourth reactor actually means the country's fourth nuclear complex with two reactors each: so, reactors seven and eight.

On land, at least 70 activists held a public teach-in to educate residents on the dangers of establishing nuclear reactors and to espouse lack of faith in the government's commitment to environmental protection.

An around-the-island walk was also launched with nearly 30 activists participating. The walk is part of the campaign aimed at promoting islandwide support for a public referendum on the question of whether or not work by Taipower on the fourth nuclear plant should be allowed to continue. Taipower has been warning that 'massive investment in the plant (done already) will be wasted and power shortages in Taiwan will be exacerbated if the construction project is suspended'. The march will be held in Taipei on October 26. It will be the core of a huge nationwide anti-nuclear demonstration.


  • China News, 22 September 1997
  • CNA, 19 September 1997

Contact: TEPU, No. 29, Lane 128, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: +886-2-3636 419; Fax: +886-2-3623 458


Higher radiation readings of Taiwan waste to be sent to N. Korea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(May 30, 1997)  Greenpeace announced on May 15 the discovery of major misrepresentations in the classification of radioactive waste to be exported by the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) to North Korea.

(473.4686) WISE Amsterdam -Greenpeace spokesperson Ho Wai Chi said the discovery raises serious concerns for the safe transport and storage of the waste. "The waste is significantly more radioactive than Taipower claims," said Ho. "Taipower has misled the people of Taiwan, the international community and the governments of neighboring countries about the dangers associated with shipping and disposing of their radioactive waste in North Korea."

Taipower, Taiwan's government-run power utility, signed a contract in January to ship up to 200,000 barrels of low-level waste for final storage in North Korea. (see WISE NC 468.4660). The shipments are expected to begin in a few months. Strong local opposition by the indigenous Yami people to the dumping of nuclear waste in shallow trenches on Lanyu Island, 65 kilometers off Taiwan's southeast coast, and by five candidate communities for a new waste disposal facility on Taiwan, forced the company to search abroad, where they failed in attempts to finalize plans to dump the waste in the Marshall Islands and Russia. If the shipments proceed, they set a dangerous precedent: it would be the first time, anywhere, that radioactive waste is exported for final storage.

The Greenpeace team was accom-panied by John Large of Large & Associates, a British nuclear engineering firm retained by Green-peace to do an independent evaluation of Taiwan's nuclear waste sector. The group conducted a 10-day study of the nuclear waste sector, and inspected waste facilities at the Kuo Sheng nuclear power plant and on Lanyu Island.

They discovered that the so-called low-level radioactive waste, which Taipower plans to export to North Korea, contains ion exchange resins and filter masses, some of the most dangerous wastes produced by nuclear reactors. Ion exchange resins are used to strip liquid streams in the reactor primary circuit and irradiated (spent) storage fuel ponds. The resin beads or pellets concentrate a wide range of (radio) activated and fission products. In terms of (radio) activity and persistence (half-life) ion exchange resins are very active (20.1012 Bq/m3 to 200.1012 Bq/m3) and very long-lived (tens of thousands of years). The current Taiwan nuclear program will generate approximately 100-120 m3/year raw ion exchange waste, or about 200-290 m3 packaged per year.
"The waste that Taipower chooses to call low level, and claims will not demand special handling, is actually a soup of highly radioactive poisons that requires complex technology, highly trained personnel, and a fully developed infrastructure in order to fulfill the most rudimentary safety requirements," said Large.
Ho added: "By exporting their waste, Taipower is creating the potential for serious environmental consequences for North Korea. Taipower must deal with its own waste, including removing it from Lanyu Island, and it must immediately cancel this dangerous and irresponsible agreement with North Korea".

Although no international agreement at present bans waste exports, the scheme is clearly in violation of the principle of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that radioactive waste must be cared for in the country of origin unless safety of treatment is enhanced by export. The IAEA General Conference Resolution of September 20, 1996, states: "...Radioactive waste should, as far as compatible with the safe management of such material, be disposed of in the State in which it was generated, whilst recognising that, in certain circumstances, safe management of radioactive waste might be fostered through voluntary agreements among Member States to use facilities in one of them for the benefit of the other States..." The principle is repeated in Point IX of the Preamble to the Draft Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The convention will be opened up for signature in September or October 1997. All countries will be able to become parties to the Convention, not only IAEA member states.
Meanwhile, Hans Blix the Director General of the IAEA said on May 27, during a visit in South Korea, that the planned waste Taiwan-North Korea exports will not be supervised by the IAEA: "No international organisation has supervisory rights".
Blix also said that China is looking to the option to take the waste to resolve a row between Taiwan and South Korea.


  • Pressrelease Greenpeace
  • UPI and Reuter, 27 May 1997

Contact: Greenpeace China (Clement Lam, Ho Wai Chi, Anne Dingwall). Mandarin Building, Room 303-305, 3543 Bonham Strand, East, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. People's Republic of China.
Tel: +852 2854 8300 or +852 9027 2081;
Fax: +852 2745 2426

Rad-waste for food? Taiwan looks to North Korea for nuclear relief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(March 14, 1997) There was outrage in capitalist South Korea when the (government owned) Taiwan Power Company announced that it had signed a contract with North Korea on January 11, 1997 to ship 200,000 barrels of low-level waste to North Korea from as early as March 1997.

(468.4660) Anna Gyorgy /Green Korea -The contract called for an initial shipment of 60,000 barrels within the first two years. The North reported that it would receive US $1,150 per barrel, "in addition to an undisclosed lump sum for site preparation and shipping (assuming North Korean freighters are used)." This is foreign exchange that economically isolated North Korea badly needs. (see WISE NC 466.4628)

The South Korean government quickly condemned the plan, without mentioning its own radioactive waste woes. And Korea's dynamic environmental and other civic groups quickly responded with a series of actions ranging from an initial burning of the Taiwanese flag (later rejected as too provocative a tactic in a region where nationalist sentiments run strong) to signature gathering and demonstrations, some, as on February 14, coordinated world-wide, with demonstrations taking part at Taiwanese missions in Asia, Europe and the US. Anti-nuclear groups opposed the deal - the first time that one country has attempted to "dispose" of its rad-waste permanently in another - as a form of "environmental imperialism."

In late January six Green Korea activists flew to Taipei to hold a week-long hunger strike in front of the state-owned Taiwan Power Company ("Taipower") headquarters in Taipei to oppose the planned shipments. Their action was supported by and coordinated with the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), which has long opposed nuclear construction in Taiwan and past government plans for waste storage. Green Korea and TEPU called on their countries to offer technological and economic assistance to North Korea, instead of "selling" them nuclear waste. After two days the peaceful group, seated in front of Taipower with banners against the waste export, was assaulted by ultra-rightwing Chinese-Taiwanese nationalists as police stood by. Later that day the Koreans were expelled from Taiwan, and continued their protest in front of the Taiwanese representative office in downtown Seoul.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese environmental activists continued the protest in front of Taipower, issuing a statement that read in part: "If Taiwan is incapable of managing the nuclear waste problems, it should not develop nuclear power. The Taiwan government must terminate construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and immediately stop operating the No. 1, 2 and 3 nuclear power plants. The only way to solve the nuclear waste problem is not to produce wastes in the first place."

Taiwan: with democracy, opposition to nuclear power
Taiwan's nuclear program was developed under a tightly-controlled authoritarian regime. "As Taiwan society gradually became more and more liberalized," the president of TEPU reported to the No Nukes Asia Forum in 1995, "the people ceased their silence. In 1984, the building of nuclear power plant #4 was proposed, and it received open criticism from congressmen. Yet little attention was paid until the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl in 1986."

Since 1982 the state-owned Taipower has shipped low and mid-level nuclear waste from its three nuclear power plants to the Long-men Nuclear Waste Depository on Orchid Island. Also called Lan Yu, this beautiful island off Taiwan's southern coast has a unique ecosystem and is home to 3,000 Yami, the most isolated of Taiwan's indigenous peoples. After storing 98,000 barrels of nuclear waste on the island, Taipower faced widespread protests in 1995 when it broke its promise to the Yami to cancel any expansion of the facility and approved plans to store an additional 100,000 drums of nuclear waste in Long-Men. The Yami fear contamination of soil and sea from leaking barrels; the Taiwan Atomic Energy Council has admitted that some of the drums of waste have rusted. Now all the wastes, including those previously stored at Lan Yu, are to go to North Korea.

"We now see a new form of 'environmental imperialism' in which richer countries try to pass on their dangerous radioactive waste legacy to others who desperately need foreign exchange to help their economic situation," said Green Korea in an international alert following their expulsion from Taiwan. "A victory over this export attempt will set an important international precedent against storing 'waste for cash' in other nations' back yards, and strengthen the movement towards nuclear phase-out."

North Korean sources reported that the waste would be stored in a closed mine in Pyungsan, Whanghaebukdo, North Korea. According to the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM): "The underground water table can be infiltrated due to the carelessly developed tunnel and mining area. Furthermore, there is danger of an earthquake as the mine is located near geographical faults. In addition, it will take at least five or ten years to build the treatment facilities for the nuclear waste. If 60,000 barrels of waste are dumped within two years, it will only be discarded as waste in a closed mine with its (limited) facilities."

The larger picture
The waste export deal has a number of important international implications. By seeking this tie with North Korea, Taiwan may well be looking towards future investment there, as the North's state-controlled economy slowly opens after the collapse of the Cold War-era socialist trading bloc. Certainly, Taiwan's newly strengthened relationship with North Korea will anger both China and South Korea. Since the Korean War, China has been a close ally of the North, so "Pyongyang's (NK) recognition of Taiwan means a slap in the face for Beijing" ("The Korea Times"). Taiwan has also had less than friendly ties with South Korea since that government switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1992. Thus South Korean government appeals have fallen on deaf ears in Taiwan. And a Pyongyang representative in Taipei, said that Seoul should "tend to its own business before interfering with that of others." (Korea Times, Jan. 20/97)

This is not the first time that the divided Koreas have squared off on rad-waste plans. For the nuclear plant-laden South has yet to find a site for its own radioactive wastes. The most recent choice was a small island in the Yellow Sea off Korea's west coast, close to the border with the North. At that time (end 1994-95) the North opposed the site as a danger to their own health and safety. The plan was finally dropped in the face of citizen protest and geological studies showing deep fissures in the island's supposedly stable rock.

Meanwhile, plans for a twin 1000 Mw reactor light-water nuclear facility to be built by the south in the north proceed, the result of a US-engineered "trade-off" in which North Korea shut its small weapons-related nuclear reactor. There has been some discussion in the Korean press that the big reactor deal may be threatened if the North does not reject Taiwan's wastes. But as early spring came to the peninsula in late February, plans and initial site work for the project were proceeding.

Not only is the Taiwan-NK deal the first rad-waste export contract, but such trans-boundary exchanges are currently allowed. The Basel Convention and the London Dumping Treaty set a base-line international consensus against the export of hazardous wastes. The Lomé and Bamako Conventions prohibit the export of radioactive waste to developing countries. However Article 26 of the nuclear waste management treaty currently being drafted by the IAEA is seriously flawed, because it allows the uncontrolled export of radioactive materials. If this article is approved as it currently stands, there could be a movement of radioactive waste internationally. Poor countries might find it acceptable to accept the cancer-causing legacy of others. The IAEA treaty as currently drafted will legalize "environmental imperialism."

Not one of the thirty-eight countries with nuclear power plants has yet solved the nuclear waste dilemma. Both Taiwan and South Korea have had serious technical and social problems with their waste policy. Despite the heavy burden it places on our society, the South Korean government plans to operate a total of 29 nuclear reactors around the year 2010. In East Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and China also plan to depend on nuclear-generated electricity. Says Green Korea: "We must recognize that the only way to prevent the specter of nuclear wastes contaminating the environment and people over thousands of years, is not to create them in the first place."

International support is needed and welcomed.

Source & Contact: Green Korea, 385-108 Hapjong-dong, Mapu-ku, Seoul, Korea
Fax: +82-2-325-5677

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU), No. 29, Lane 128, Sec 3 Roosveldt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan
tel: +886-2-363-6419
Fax: +886-2-362-3458


Protests against waste shipment from Taiwan to North Korea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(February 7, 1997) On January 11, Taiwan signed a contract with North Korea about the shipment of 60,000 barrels of low-level radioactive waste in the next two years, with the option to ship another 140,000 barrels later on (see WISE NC 465.4622).

(466.4628) WISE Amsterdam - According to a statement of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), the waste would be stored in a closed mine in Pyungsan, Whanghaebukdo, which is bound to several problems.

It said in a statement on January 23: 'The underground water table can be infiltrated due to the carelessly developed tunnel and mining area. Furthermore, there is the danger of an earthquake as the mine is located near geographical faults. In addition, it will take at least five or ten years to build the treatment facilities for the nuclear waste. If 60,000 barrels of waste is dumped for two years, it will only be discarded as a waste in a closed mine with its little or no facilities.' Taipei will pay its cash-starved counterpart US$1,150 per barrel. Taiwan's own nuclear waste dump on Lanyu island has nearly reached its capacity of 98,112 barrels and, surrendering to anti-nuclear protests, was promised to be emptied by 2002.

Since the contract was made public on January 13, there have been international protests, especially in South Korea, but in Japan and in the US. South Korean Foreign Minister Yoo Chong-ha warned of 'political and economic' measures if Taiwan fails to withdraw its plan. He said the issue could develop into the hottest diplomatic row between Seoul and Taipei since they severed ties in 1992. South Korean officials were quoted to be considering the use of armed forces, if diplomatic means fail.

On January 29, six environmental activists began a hunger strike in Taipei to pressure the Taiwanese government to stop the deal. 'The Taiwan government is trying to solve its mounting waste problem by profiting from the serious famine in North Korea,' Jang Won, leader of Green Korea, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said in a statement.

And in South Korea, there were several demonstrations, in which Taiwanese flags and effigies of the Taiwan president were burned. On January 28, North Korean advisers visited the Taiwan nuclear waste dump at Lanyu island. North Korea is to be in charge of the transports, the first of which will take place as early as February, local media reported.


  • Reuter, 27, 28, 29 January 1997
  • Korean Times, 23 January 1997
  • KPS, 24 January 1997
  • Statement from KFEM, 23 January 1997

Contact: KFEM, #251, Nooha-dong, Chongno-Gu, Seoul, 110-042, South Korea;
Fax: +82-2-730-1240

Taiwan: Radwaste to North Korea

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(January 24, 1997) The Taiwan Power Company stopped dumping nuclear waste on its only disposal on Lanyu island last July, because of capacity problems. It is now looking for another site, and is considering the offshore island of Matsu, the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung, and the southern county of Pingtung.

(465.4622) WISE Amsterdam -The utility gave U.S.$1.8 million to each of the local governments to þappreciate their participationþ, and promised U.S.$109 million for the local government and the residents of the final site. After environmental protests, Taiwan Power promised to remove all the nuclear waste from Lanyu until 2002.

In a surprise statement on January 13, Taipower announced it would ship 60,000 barrels of nuclear waste to North Korea within the next two years. The deal was signed on January 11. Under the contract, Taipower has an option to ship a total of up to 200,000 barrels of nuclear waste to North Korea. Company president Hsi Shih-chi would not disclose financial arrangements with impoverished North Korea, which presumably extracted a substantial cash payment in exchange for agreeing to take the waste. According to Taipower, this deal will allow them to remove the waste from Lanyu before 2002. But the company continues to contact the Marshall Island and Russia for further contracts.

Sources: Reuter, 1 & 13 January 1997
Contact: WISE-Tokyo