Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

Recently, Green-peace International, together with a hired British nuclear engineer, John Large, inspected a nuclear dump in Taiwan. Resembling a neatly tended corporate campus with only a sign in calligraphy saying "Lanyu storage site", the dumpyard hardly gives any hint that nearly 98,000 barrels of radioactive wastes are stored there.

Lying 65 km southeast of the main island of Taiwan, Lanyu houses the only nuclear dump of the country, much to the discontent of the indigenous tribe Yami, who have been protesting against it for the past decade. It was decided early this year that North Korea will pay for the waste and dispose it of permanently. But then, of late, there has been murmur of protests from China, the us and also South Korea.The latter states that North Korea lacks both the technical and the administrative know-how to handle the waste and says that North Korea could only be too quick to grab Taiwan's cash- a whopping us $230 million- but slow to spend it on safe storage of the waste.

Greenpeace said that the site contains much more high-level waste than what the official Taipower company had acknowledged. It also reported leakage of waste. The Yami have blamed the waste for causing cancers and birth defects. According to Large, the site is deteriorating and should be shut. On its part, Taipower argued that the Lanyu dump was safe and its contents ready for removal to North Korea.

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