Premier Jiang talks with anti-nuclear groups

  • Date: 2013-04-03
  • Source: Office of Information Services, Executive Yuan
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Premier  Jiang  Yi-huah  today  gave  promise  that  the  nuclear  waste  currently  stored  on  Orchid  Island  would  be  moved  to  another  location.  Speaking  to  representatives  of  anti-nuclear  groups,  the  premier  also  said  cooperation  and  open  dialogue  between  the  government  and  civic  groups  would  help  untangle  thorny  public  policy  issues  and  pave  the  way  for  national  progress.

In  response  to  several  concerns  raised  by  meeting  participants,  Premier  Jiang  pledged  that:

1.Orchid  Island  would  not  be  a  final  repository  site  for  nuclear  waste.
2.The  “cash  reward”  system  for  Orchid  Island  residents  would  be  reviewed.
3.Evacuation  drills  for  residents  near  nuclear  power  plants  would  be  conducted.
4.Nuclear-related  information  would  be  made  transparent,  while  a  minister  without  portfolio  will  be  designated  to  coordinate  dialogue  between  civic  groups  and  various  government  agencies  on  nuclear  waste  disposal  issues.

As  for  the  Tao  Foundation’s  demand  that  nuclear  waste  be  immediately  removed  from  Orchid  Island,  Premier  Jiang  stated  that  while  the  outlying  island  has  long  served  as  a  temporary  disposal  site,  it  will  by  no  means  become  permanent.  But  before  the  waste  can  be  cleared  out  of  Orchid  Island,  the  government  must  first  find  the  location  and  the  means  for  such  removal.  Jiang  said  he  is  keeping  close  tabs  on  the  matter  and  hopes  to  see  a  breakthrough  during  his  term  in  office.  He  is  also  planning  to  visit  the  island  in  the  near  future  to  survey  conditions  for  himself.

Regarding  calls  to  amend  the  act  on  nuclear  waste  site  selection,  Premier  Jiang  said  the  act  had  been  approved  by  the  Legislature  after  thorough  review,  hence  the  opinions  expressed  by  meeting  participants  will  be  passed  along  to  the  legislative  caucuses  for  reference.  As  for  actual  selection  of  the  sites,  when  the  act  was  passed  in  2006,  it  designated  Kinmen  County’s  Wuqiu  Township  and  Taitung  County’s  Daren  Township  with  the  requirement  that  local  referendums  be  held  to  obtain  community  support  and  endorsement.  However,  neither  of  the  two  local  governments  has  yet  to  agree  to  hold  such  referendums,  which  makes  it  difficult  to  enforce  the  act.  The  premier  hopes  central  authorities  will  continue  to  communicate  with  the  two  local  governments  while  also  considering  other  viable  means.

As  for  concerns  from  a  north  coast  anti-nuclear  alliance  that  the  “cash  reward”  system  could  be  used  improperly,  Premier  Jiang  said  the  Executive  Yuan  will  investigate  any  alleged  illegal  activities  involved  in  the  mechanism  for  paying  cash  as  rewards  to  residents  living  near  nuclear  power  plants.  The  Executive  Yuan  will  as  well  consider  addressing  the  payments  as  compensation  or  reparation  rather  than  cash  rewards.

The  premier  also  listened  to  feedback  from  north  coast  residents  that  the  Atomic  Energy  Council’s  (AEC)  nuclear  safety  drills  were  designed  primarily  for  the  frail  or  elderly—a  minority  of  the  residents—and  that  the  timing  of  the  drills  was  inappropriate,  and  the  evacuation  routes  unsuitable.  Jiang  responded  by  saying  no  shortcuts  or  compromises  will  be  tolerated  when  it  comes  to  citizens’  safety  and  demanded  that  ministries  take  actions  to  improve.  The  premier  ordered  the  AEC  to  supervise  its  subordinate  units  more  closely  and  said  he  would  personally  oversee  the  exercises  if  necessary.