Greenpeace vows to act on dumping plan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 1997, 12:00am

Greenpeace yesterday again condemned a nuclear waste deal between Taiwan's state power company and North Korea as a scandal and vowed to take every step necessary to convince Taipei to cancel the dumping plan.

But Taiwan scoffed at Greenpeace's demand and pledged that dumping waste in North Korea would create no safety or environmental hazard Dima Litvinov, a nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International, said in Hong Kong yesterday that a 10-day fact-finding investigation by the environmental body in Taiwan had found that Taipower had misrepresented the danger of the nuclear waste it planned to ship to North Korea for disposal.

Taipower signed a contract with North Korea last January to ship up to 200,000 barrels of 'low-level' waste for disposal in the communist state.

Mr Litvinov said Greenpeace had retained the British nuclear engineering firm Large & Associates to conduct an independent investigation which showed that the waste to be shipped to North Korea contained some of the most dangerous waste produced by nuclear reactors.

The company's John Large said he doubted whether North Korea could meet the severe and stringent requirements for nuclear waste disposal and questioned the toxicity and radioactive contents of the shipments.

Mr Large said he also doubted if Taiwan could enforce its safety standards after North Korea had taken delivery of the waste.

The nuclear waste currently stored by Taipower on the island at Lanyu was not low-level waste material as the company claimed, he said.

He added that he had found traces of radioactive substances in trenches in Lanyu, indicating that some of the barrels had leaked and might have contaminated the environment.

But Taipower denied the accusations.

'As we have always maintained, we wouldn't have signed the deal to ship waste to North Korea if we knew it wasn't perfectly safe,' Taipower spokesman Huang Huei-yu said.

Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council stood by Taipower and said Lanyu complied fully with strict International Atomic Energy Agency regulations.

But council spokesman Yieh Chin-shun said the shipment had not yet been approved and the proposal would be reviewed further before a decision was made.