Taiwan apologises to island over nuke waste dump
TAIPEI - Taiwan Economics Minister Lin Yi-fu has offered an apology to aboriginal residents of a tiny island where the government stored its nuclear waste, local media reported yesterday.
\"I can understand how you feel,\" Lin told the aboriginal tribesmen, residents of tiny Lanyu island, who began to protest outside Taiwan\'s only nuclear waste storage facility on May 1.
Taiwan currently dumps its nuclear waste - a by-product of its three nuclear power plants - on Lanyu, 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Taiwan.
Lin said on the weekend the government would set up a committee within one month to study plans to remove the waste, but gave no timetable for the actual removal.
The government has pledged to close the dump by the end of this year, but no money has been allocated for the task in this year\'s budget. The site\'s 98,112-barrel capacity is nearly exhausted.
Years of efforts to search for a new location have been futile. Possible overseas locations have been considered including the Marshall Islands, Russia and even Taiwan\'s rival China, Taiwan Power Company has said.
In 1998, Taiwan was forced to abort a plan to ship 60,000 barrels of low-radiation nuclear waste to North Korea after heavy pressure from home and abroad, particularly from South Korea.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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