Taiwan: 100,000 march against nuclear power

Some 100,000 people from eight cities across Taiwan marked the approaching three-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster by taking to the streets to demand an end to nuclear power in the island nation. Protesters called for a halt to construction on the island's fourth nuclear power plant, now underway at Lungmen, as well as closure of the existing three installations. They also demanded the removal of nuclear waste from Orchid Island, and that the government review its policy on the long-term management of radioactive waste. (Taiwan Today, March 10; China Post, March 9)

  1. Oh, and speaking of nuclear waste…

    Making all too little news is the radioactive leak at the US government's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. It seems a chunk of rock fell from the roof Feb. 14, breaking open a waste drum and raising a cloud of contaminated dust that escaped from the facility. (See Albuquerque Journal, March 8) It is nearly 20 years since it was ready to go online and I tried in my small way to raise the alarm about it (see my 1997 exposé online at Consortium News). What is hilarious in its grim way is that the Department of Energy was guaranteeing us in 1997 that the place would be secure for 10,000 years (while the waste will actually remain highly dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years, beyond which the DoE made no guarantees)… And now, just 17 years later, there's been a leak, in which workers were exposed to radioactive dust and the place is still considered unsafe to enter weeks later. Do we laugh or cry?

  2. Radiation releases continue in New Mexico

    The Energy Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM, has been has been shut down since February, when its "isolation" system failed, releasing unsafe levels of plutonium, americium, and other radio-nuclides into the environment around the site. ENENews reported June 27 that radiation releases had spiked again around the surface of the facility. Radiation levels in the underground storage area, 2,150 feet below the surface, vary from near-normal to potentially lethal. At the time of the February accident, more than 20 WIPP workers suffered low level radioactive contamination, even though none of them were underground. (RSN, July 2)

  3. New Mexico nuclear waste facility delayed again

    A proposed project to store high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico faced continued delays as federal regulators were unsatisfied with answers given by the company hoping to build the facility near the Eddy-Lea county line.

    In a letter to Holtec International, the company proposing the facility, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said responses to its recent inquiries were inadequate, meaning publication the project’s final environmental impact statement was pushed back from November 2021 and a safety evaluation report (SER) was delayed from a planned January 2022 publication date.

    Holtec International applied for a 40-year license to build a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) at a remote location near the Eddy-Lea county line, in 2017.

    The site would be designed to hold spent nuclear fuel rods, brought in via rail from nuclear power plants around the country, on an ostensibly temporary basis while a permanent repository is built.

    The US has not permanent facility for spent fuel rods since the Yucca Mountain storage project in Nevada was defunded under the Obama administration.

    Holtec hopes to join the growing “nuclear corridor” in┬ásoutheast New Mexico along with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the URENCO nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Eunice.┬á(Carlsbad Current-Argus,┬áCurrent-Argus)