Taiwan confirms nuclear waste deal

Publish date: July 13, 2000

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has confirmed that it has made an agreement with Russian Kurchatov Institute to export its nuclear waste to Russia.

According to Taipei Times Taipower has confirmed that a memorandum had been signed with the Russian Kurchatov Institute to transfer nuclear waste to Russia. As earlier reported on Bellona Web Russian leading nuclear research centre, the Kurchatov Institute, is pushing a project to build a radwaste storage site at Simushir Island, one of the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East. In an attempt to obtain the Russian government’s endorsement of the project, the institute says it will only store its own waste there, but the documents obtained by the Russian envirogroup Ecodefence! reveal that negotiations have been conducted behind the scenes with potential clients from Taiwan.

Division head of Taipower’s public affairs department, Mr. Huang Huei-yu, said, “It’s just a preliminary plan involving 5,000 barrels of nuclear waste”. Taipower said also it was working with other countries, including North Korea and China, to find sites for final disposal of its waste.

So far there are 97,000 barrels in a temporary storage at Orchid Island, which according to Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council has to be removed. The time schedule for the removal is not decided.

Taiwan’s nuclear waste may be deposited in Russia if a change in the Russian legislation, banning import of nuclear waste, is changed. The Russian legislation might be amended in September to allow imports of both spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste into the country. The bill amending the Russian Law on Environmental Protection is due to be considered in the Russian Duma in September or October this year.