Δ
TOP
Taiwan Power Company

The Operation of the Lanyu Storage Site

Index > Information Disclosure > Environmental Information > The Operation of the Lanyu Storage Site

Q:Why choose Lanyu as the location to set up the low-level radioactive waste storage site? What is the construction process and storage scale?

1.In response to the increasing popularity of atomic energy for livelihood in Taiwan, Atomic Energy Council, Executive Yuan (hereinafter referred to as AEC) invited scholars and experts from National Tsing Hua University, Institute of Nuclear Energy Research and Taiwan Power Company in 1972 to find the solution to the low-level radioactive waste generated by the application of atomic energy in the future. After two years of research and analysis on abandoned mine pits or tunnels, high mountains, uninhabited islands, and outlying islands, outlying islands for temporary storage is then decided. Meanwhile, marine disposal technology was under development (at that time, several advanced countries were already conducting radioactive waste marine disposal). Longmen has the following advantages. (1) Isolated terrain (surrounded by mountains on three sides and with one side facing the sea) and it is not inhibited within 5 kilometers; (2) The site exceeds 1 square kilometers, which meets investment benefits; (3) Maritime transportation is safe and reliable; (4) Convenient for the future implementation of final disposal. After carefully evaluated by scholars and experts, setting up the low-radioactive waste storage site in the area was decided. The construction planning was approved by the Executive Yuan at the end of 1975 (Letter Tai-64-Ke No. 6474 of Executive Yuan dated December 27, 1975 approved the planning of Longmen area on Lanyu Island as the "national radioactive solid waste storage site").

2.In August 1978, the constructions of the project were again approved by the Executive Yuan. The first phase of the project started in 1978 which includes 23 storage trenches. The trench designed originally can store 5 layers of waste drums. The Storage Site has officially started accepting waste since 1982.

3.After the Lanyu Storage Site was established in 1981, it was initially managed by Office of Radioactive Waste Management, Atomic Energy Council. Later, Taiwan Power Company took over the operation of the site in July 1990 in accordance with the "Policy for the Management of Radioactive Waste" issued by the Executive Yuan. Atomic Energy Council is responsible for safety supervision.

4.In July 2018, in order to maintain harmony in Lanyu and fulfill indigenous peoples' transitional justice, Taiwan Power Company revised the name of "Lanyu Storage Site" to "Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site".

Q:It is rumored that when the nuclear waste storage site was building on Lanyu Island, local residents were told that it was a canning factory. Is the rumor true?

At the beginning of the construction of the storage site, the AEC never used the term "canning factory" in writing. When reporting to the Executive Yuan and coordinating the planning of the storage site by the Taiwan Provincial Government and Taitung County Government, the AEC clearly stated "Lantau National Radioactive Material Storage Site" was going to be established. This can be supported by the "title of the Construction Planning Report" and "advertising board located at the construction site". It is untrue that the AEC deliberately deceived people of Lanyu to build a storage site in the name of a "canning factory".

Q:Is the facility structure of Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site in deficiency? Have any reinforcement works been carried out?

1.The structure of 23 storage trenches in Lanyu Radioactive Waste Storage Site is a non-closed design and the cover can be opened repeatedly. Leak-proof measures are applied between the cover plates and the trench wall with waterproof glue and film. So far, no defects affecting safety have been found. However, since Lanyu experiences a rainy and humid sea-island climate throughout the year, the storage trenches wall, cover plates, the joint between the cover plates, and the trench wall expansion joints under the ground surface inevitably have water seepage after heavy rain. After being stored in a humid environment for so long, corrosion is found on some waste drums. Therefore, the leakage prevention operation of storage trenches must be continued for a long time to reduce the amount of infiltration. Some of the above waste drums were rusty. However, according to the environmental monitoring results independently conducted by AEC, National Sun Yat-sen University and Taiwan Power Company over the years, no adverse effects occurred in the surrounding environment and ecology thanks to the multiple-barrier design of the storage trench system.

2.Since 1996, Taiwan Power Company has implemented the "Zero Emissions of radioactivity" measure at the request of the Fuel Cycle and Materials Administration, Atomic Energy Council. Even if a small amount of rainwater has penetrated into the trench, it can be collected and processed. So far, no waste water containing radioactive nuclides has been discharged.

Q:Is the design of the Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site strong enough to resist natural disasters, such as typhoons, and earthquakes?

1.At the beginning of the planning and design of Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site, it was decided to introduce the most advanced concept of multiple-barrier abroad in order to protect people's health and environmental safety. The waste is first solidified (the first barrier), and then packed in a steel barrel (the second barrier). After arriving at the storage site, it is stored in the concrete trench (the third barrier). The concrete trench in the storage site has an infiltration water collection system (the fourth barrier). After the infiltration water is collected, it is processed by a concentrator (the fifth barrier). Then, the infiltration water can be used again in the site. Although the corrosion of the waste barrel will affect the function of the second barrier, the concrete trench, infiltration water collection system, and concentrator can still effectively isolate the radioactive waste and prevent it from releasing to the surrounding environment. The storage trench system is constructed with reinforced concrete. The seismic design of each building structure is in accordance with the "Building Structures under Building Technical Regulations" issued by Ministry of the Interior.

2.Since its opening in 1982, Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site has experienced numerous natural disasters such as typhoons, heavy rains, and earthquakes. Natural disasters have no obvious impact on the safety of the storage site. 

Q: If the Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site is a temporary facility, when the existing low-level radioactive waste can be moved out?

1.According to the "Guidelines for Restriction Areas of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Facilities" announced on May 24, 2006, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is the organizer that is responsible for the site selection of the final disposal facilities and designated Taiwan Power Company to select the site, carry out investigation and public communication. The "site selection" has been completed. On July 3, 2012, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that Kinmen County’s Wuqiu Township and Taitung County’s Daren Township are proposed locations. Kinmen County Government and Taitung County Government have agreed to arrange a local referendum.

2.The site will be selected by the referendum. After conducting environmental impact assessment and review, the Executive Yuan will be reported for approval of development and construction.

3.After the construction of the low-level radioactive waste disposal site is completed and the operation permit is obtained, the waste drums of the Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site can be moved out.

4.Besides, in order to completely remove public doubts and fulfil the need to transfer drums in the Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site to the final disposal site in the future, the Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site started examination and repacking program in December 2007 in accordance with the Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Waste Act. And it completed on November 26, 2011. All waste drums have been examined, repacked and stored in storage trenches. After a comprehensive inspection and leak-proof repairs, the operation of the storage site will be safer in the future.

5.In order to improve the safety of 55-gallon waste in the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site, Taiwan Power Company began planning in August 2016 to store 55-gallon waste drums into "3X4 repacking containers" (hot-dip galvanized steel cabinet) with better corrosion resistance. In this way, it can increase the protection of 55-gallon waste drums, and thereby improve the storage safety of waste drums. In addition, the "3X4 repacking containers" belong to the second type of industrial transport package, which can be directly shipped to the final disposal site in the future. Thus, relocation time can be shortened.

Q: It is rumored that the establishment of Lanyu Low-Level Storage Site has led to an increase in the incidence of cancer among residents in Lanyu. Is the rumor true?

1.According to the results of the "Epidemiology Survey of the Environment and Residents Near Nuclear Energy Facilities" by institutions for academic research commissioned by the Department of Health in 1998 and 1999, no difference between the health status of residents near the nuclear energy facilities (the research group) and that of the general population (the control group).

2.According to the cancer data during 2013 to 2018 from the website of Department of Statistics, Ministry of Health and Welfare, the standardized cancer mortality rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) among Lanyu residents is similar to that of neighboring towns (Green Island, Taitung County’s Daren Township, Taitung City, Pingtung County’s Mudan Township, and Pingtung County’s Manchu Township). No abnormalities have occurred.

3.Although there is no obvious reason to prove that Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site is related to the health status of nearby residents, in order to avoid unnecessary suspicion and eliminate doubts of villagers, Taiwan Power Company has adopted the most direct and practical method. Since 1999, the villagers were invited to the Radiation Laboratory of Taiwan Power Company’s No. 3 Nuclear Power Plant to measure the presence of artificial radioactive substances in the body. 4,423 people have accepted the test by September 27, 2017. In 2018, rapid screening test for radiation pollution was adopted (about 150 villagers accepted the test). The results show that no villager was invaded by artificial radioactive nuclides.

4.In order to further reassure the residents of Lanyu Township, clarify the impact of the Lanyu Storage Site on the health of people, and promote the effectiveness of communication, the Ministry of Economic Affairs request the Ministry of Health and Welfare on December 2, 2013 to assist in the "Pioneer Research Project of Long-term Health and Safety Assessment of Low-Level Nuclear Waste on Lanyu Residents and Epidemiology ". National Health Research Institutes is responsible for the implementation. Starting from December 16, 2014, it should have been completed on December 16, 2016. However, National Health Research Institutes extended the deadline to June 30, 2017 due to the adjustment plan period. After completing the relevant literature research, for "Lanyu residents’ health checkup", National Health Research Institutes has to comply with Article 21 of the Indigenous Peoples Basic Law and Article 4 of “Directions for Obtaining Consent and Agreeing on Commercial Interests and Its Applications for Human Research”. Only until reviewed and approved by the Community Review Board (CRB) of the Council of Indigenous Peoples, National Health Research Institutes was allowed to conduct health checkups for Lanyu residents. However, the CRB did not agree to the application. As a result, the plan could not proceed. Moreover, Lanyu residents strongly requested that the health checkups should be processed first, so the National Health Research Institutes terminate the project. The Ministry of Economic Affairs agreed that the project ended on June 30, 2017. In this case, health checkups for Lanyu residents were conducted in accordance with the Executive Yuan’s request.

5. In terms of Lanyu Residents Health Checkup Project, the source of funding, qualifications, and implementation methods were reported to the Executive Yuan by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in May 2018 and approved in July 2018. The Ministry of Economic Affairs requested the Ministry of Health and Welfare to assist in this project. The health checkup operation was started by Taitung National Hospital and Lanyu Township Office on November 14, 2018. Those who met the medical examination qualifications could choose to receive heath checkups on Lanyu Island, Taitung National Hospital and hospitals by Ministry of Health and Welfare in the whole nation. The health checks were completed on August 31, 2019. The period of health checkup was from November 2018 to the end of August 2019. The total number of Lanyu residents that received health checkup s is 2,500.

Q:What feedbacks have Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site provided to Lanyu since its establishment?

Since its opening in 1982, Lanyu Storage Site has provided feedbacks to Lanyu in accordance with the statutory feedback mechanism, including:

1.Radioactive waste storage feedback rewards: Provide radioactive waste storage feedback rewards to Lanyu Township in accordance with the "Directions for Nuclear Backend Fund’s Feedback on Radioactive Waste Storage before Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants".

2.Land lease renewal feedback: Apply to Lanyu Township Office for land lease renewal of Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site in accordance with the "Regulations on Development and Management of the Lands Reserved for Indigenous People" and the tenancy agreement. Provide funds required for the implementation of the project in accordance with the "Taiwan Power Company's Lanyu Storage Site Land Leasing Feedback Project".

3.In addition, it has activity involved in cultural and educational activities in Lanyu Township, provided scholarships and emergency aid fund.

4.The total amount of feedback rewards provided to Lanyu over the years is around NT$ 2.518 billion by October 31, 2019.

Note:
1.During the management period of the AEC (May 1982 to June 1990): NT$50/barrel per 
year and provided directly to the Lanyu Township Office.
2.During the management period of Taiwan Power Company (July 1990 to December 2000): NT$100/barrel per year and provided directly to the Lanyu Township Office.
3.From 2001, the feedback reward is NT$ 200/ barrel per year. Around NT $20 million are directly provided to the Lanyu Township Office every year.

Q:1982, Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site has caused no adverse impact on the environment.

1.Academic research institutes, Radiation Monitoring Center of the AEC, and Taiwan Power Company's Radiation Laboratory continue to conduct independent environmental radiation monitoring measures after the opening of Lanyu Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Site in 1982. According to radiation detection results and analysis of environmental samples over the years (including the period of examination and repacking program from 2007 to 2011), the surrounding environment of Lanyu is within the safe range, which meets the requirements of relevant nuclear energy regulations and is far below the regulatory limit. There is no adverse impact on the environment. People can check the real time environmental radiation monitoring of Lanyu on the website of AEC and Taiwan Power Company's nuclear transparency information system (http://wapp4.taipower.com.tw/nsis/).

2.In order to promote civil participation in monitoring the operational safety of radioactive waste storage site, improve public awareness and increase mutual trust, the competent authority, the FCMA has successively invited environmentalists to participate in the environmental radiation monitoring activities of the Lanyu Storage Site from 2011 and 2012. The monitoring results are within the variation of the background radiation, assuring that the operation of Lanyu Storage Site is safe and secure.

Q:Are there suspected cases of excessive radiation in some areas of Lanyu according to Japanese scholars’ results?

After measuring with Japanese scholars again, the detecting instrument used by them was affected by the electromagnetic waves from the base station (broadcasting station). There is no artificial radioactive nuclide "exceeding the standard", and it is confirmed that there is nothing to do with ionizing radiation. The details are as follows.

1.On November 10 and 11, 2012, two scholars from Japan, five experts from Taiwan, and staff of Radiation Monitoring Center, Atomic Energy Council conducted environmental radiation detection on Lanyu. In particularly, the "micro spot" detected by Japanese scholars in early September 2012 was examined in detail. After joint measurement by three parties, it was determined that there was no artificial radioactive nuclide "exceeding the standard", and the suspicion of environmental pollution caused by the Lanyu Storage Site had been eliminated.

2.During the 2-day detection, only at a specific point on the concrete wall behind the abandoned health center in Iraralay, the detections by instrument from Japanese side indicated abnormal radiation values. However, the detections by instrument from Taiwanese side were within the normal range. The site was immediately analyzed by Radiation Monitoring Center with high-precision instrument. The analysis results showed that no artificial radioactive nuclide was found. The abnormality was caused by natural nuclides or instrumental noises, and therefore it had nothing to do with Lanyu Storage Site.

3.The Japanese instrument detected abnormal radiation values at a specific point on the cement wall of the health center in Iraralay. The detection results of the 3 units from Taiwanese side were within the normal range. On November 16, 2012, the Institute for Nuclear Energy Research conducted an analysis on the detecting instrument used by Japanese scholars. On November 19, 2012, relevant personnel from the Institute for Nuclear Energy carried both new and old versions of the Japanese instrument to Lanyu. They found out that the instrument used by Japanese scholars was interfered by electromagnetic waves from the broadcasting station. The high value measured by Japanese side in the abandoned health center in Iraralay was affected by the local broadcasting station. It had nothing to do with ionizing radiation. It was a mistake made by Japanese scholars.

Q:Explanation of "Media reports on the detection results from Japanese scholars in Lanyu"

1.Background: The media has reported on "International Nuclear Power Risk Communication Symposium" held in Taiwan on April 22, 2013 and in which Japanese scholars were invited to. During the meeting, they reiterated that they had conducted radiation detection on Lanyu last year and found several "hot spots" with unusually high radiation values. After a joint measurement by three parties in November last year, there was no radiation exceeding the standard, and concerns about environmental pollution caused by Lanyu Storage Site have been ruled out. However, there was a new location during the tripartite detection with higher dose radiation measured by Japan’s instrument, but within the standard range measured by Taiwan’s instrument. High-purity germanium detector was used onsite immediately (valued NT $ 4.6 million) provided by Radiation Monitoring Center to analyze the radioactive nuclide. The analysis results show that they are natural radioactive nuclides.

2.Measures adopted by Taiwan Power Company:
a.In order to further verify the reasons for the high value measured by Japanese side, and whether it is indeed affected by the electromagnetic waves of the radio station, Taiwan Power Company purchased the same type of analytical instrument used by Japanese experts in the beginning of 2013. The analytical instrument was affected by electromagnetic waves (99.5MHz radio frequency electromagnetic waves) at certain locations on Lanyu Island and at certain angles (for example, near a radio station). Thus, the measured value was increased and the alarm went off (the measured value was suddenly a thousand times higher than the background value, reaching a value of 65.3 μSv/h). When the radio station was temporarily shut down for 10 minutes, the measured value was back to normal (between 0.03 ~ 0.12 μSv/h). When the power was restored in the radio station, the alarm of the instrument went off again (65.3 μSv/h). Obviously, it shows that the instrument and the measuring instrument used by Japanese scholars were interfered by electromagnetic waves. Thus, the measurement value was wrong. It doesn’t mean that the radio waves of this station are dangerous.

b.In order to ensure the environmental safety of Lanyu, Taiwan Power Company set up a detection point on the Round-the-island roads and Central Cross-lsland Highway every 500 meters in the middle of March 2013. The detection results are within the variation of the background radiation (between 0.023 ~ 0.06 μSv/h), which show that the environment of Lanyu is safe. In January 2014, radiation detection stations were built at various tribes in Lanyu. Real time environmental radiation data is displayed to give people peace of mind.