Main­land nu­clear waste ac­cord is ‘firm-to-firm’: Taipower

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY YUAN-MING CHIAO

Tai­wan Power Co. (Taipower,

) Deputy Manager Chen Put­san ( ) said yes­ter­day that a mem­o­ran­dum signed with main­land China over nu­clear waste stor­age ex­ists as a com­mer­cial con­tract be­tween firms. Chen made the state­ment fol­low­ing the Leg­isla­tive Yuan’s Ed­u­ca­tion and Cul­ture Com­mit­tee meet­ing.

In the mem­o­ran­dum, which was drawn up dur­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Lee Teng-hui’s term of of­fice, Taipower ar­ranged to send nu­clear waste to Chi­nese state-run China Na­tional Nu­clear Cor­po­ra­tion (

) for long-term ra­dioac­tive waste stor­age.

Dur­ing the same meet­ing, Kuom­intang (KMT) Leg­is­la­tor Alex Tsai ( ) ques­tioned Atomic En­ergy Coun­cil (AEC, ) head Tsai Chuen-horng ( ) about the sta­tus of the agree­ment, which not been rene­go­ti­ated in the 15 years since. In his re­ply, AEC chief Tsai said he was un­clear about the de­tails of the agree­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Leg­is­la­tor Tsai, be­fore the year-end elec­tions of 2014, the re­newal of the mem­o­ran­dum with main­land China was sent to the Pres­i­den­tial Of­fice and later di­rected to the Main­land Af­fairs Coun­cil (MAC) for fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tion with China’s Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice. Tsai Chuen-horng replied that he was not present at meet­ings re­lated to the agree­ment.

He said that ne­go­ti­a­tions with China on this is­sue were con­ducted by Taipower, and that though the MAC and Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs (MOEA) were ap­prised of the mat­ter, the AEC was not. Taipower of­fi­cials are con­cerned that the com­mer­cial con­tract may be made com­pli­cated by the is­sue’s el­e­va­tion to a gov­ern­ment-level cross-strait re­lated agree­ment.

Last month, a plan for­mu­lated by Taipower to send nu­clear waste for re­pro­cess­ing abroad was re­jected with bi­par­ti­san op­po­si­tion. Taipower and the MOEA ini­ti­ated bid­ding for nu­clear pro­cess­ing con­tracts on Feb. 17. The plan called for spent fuel rods to be re­pro­cessed and stored abroad for 20 years be­fore be­ing shipped back to Tai­wan.

Taipower op­er­ates the three ex- ist­ing nu­clear plants (a to­tal of six re­ac­tors) on the is­land, ac­count­ing for 16 per­cent of elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion. In April 2014 due to so­cial pres­sure, it an­nounced that Unit 1 of the Fourth Nu­clear Plant would be moth­balled upon con­struc­tion and con­struc­tion of Unit 2 would be halted.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Nu­clear As­so­ci­a­tion, as of Jan­uary 2015, used fuel pools at the Chin­shan re­ac­tor reached 97 per­cent of max­i­mum ca­pac­ity, with sim­i­lar num­bers re­flected at the Ku­osheng re­ac­tor.

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