Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nuclear Safety: Taiwan Dawdles Behind the Philippines

(Controlled explosion: Wikipedia)

From the Hanji Chinese Language Liberty Times 24 June 2012

Nuclear Safety: Taiwan Dawdles Behind the Philippines
By TSAI Yain

Recent news reports picked up on Prof. CHEN Zhenghong’s warnings that an eruption of the Datun volcanoes could result in two to three meters of ash falling on the nearby first and second nuclear plants. CHEN, former deputy minister of the National Science Council is currently a professor of geology at National Taiwan University. In response, Atomic Energy Council Minister TSAI Chunhong has said if we really were to encounter such a scenario he has no idea how to handle it.

CHEN’s warnings bring to mind the 1990 film “Dreams” by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, where the sixth “dream” describes an eruption of Mount Fuji and the resulting molten lava spills onto six nearby nuclear power reactors. As the people flee from the exploding plants, a person cries: “Japan is too small; we simply have nowhere to hide!” Finally they flee to the beach, and with nowhere to escape, they jump into the sea. Even the dolphins can’t escape the disaster. Meanwhile, nuclear power personnel, in their protective suits and ties look on as the sky fills with highly toxic plutonium 239, strontium 90, cesium 137 and other deadly isotopes forming radioactive clouds. They exclaim how the folly of humankind surpasses all imagination. Given their understanding of immense pain and suffering in store for those exposed to high doses of radiation, the “suits” apologize to the people around them before taking their own lives by jumping into the apocalyptic ocean.

This 20-year-old film is now seen as somewhat prophetic in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. While these words of warning failed to prevent the Fukushima nuclear disaster, perhaps it is not too late for Taiwan to heed the warning? Could Taiwan prevent a nuclear catastrophe if the Datun volcanoes erupted?

Taiwan’s first and second nuclear plants, with a total of four reactors are built next to the Datun volcanic group. An eruption would surely lead to nuclear disaster; and with Taiwan being much smaller than Japan, we would have even less chance of escape. With the Atomic Energy Council’s minister admitting that he does not know how to deal with such a disaster what are ordinary people expected to think or do?

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the Philippines was built close to volcanoes and faults. Although the construction was completed, for security reasons, the plant has never gone into operation. The first and second nuclear power plants in Taiwan lie on active faults near the Datun volcanoes. Their proximity to metropolitan areas means that a serious nuclear incident would affect millions of people. It is absolutely imperative that the government moves now to decommission these plants and remove this insanely cataclysmic threat to the people of Taiwan.

Yain TSAI is a lawyer with the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan and also chairs the Environmental Law Committee of the Taipei Bar Association.

核安 菲律賓比下台灣

◎ 蔡雅瀅


這 則新聞令人想起一九九○年日本導演黑澤明拍攝的電影「夢」,片中第六個夢「赤富士」,描述富士山岩漿噴發時,核電廠的六座反應爐接二連三地爆炸。民眾紛紛 逃難,其中一人說:日本太小,我們根本無處可逃。最後逃到海邊,發現無處可逃的人們都跳海,連海豚也逃走,穿西裝的核電人員看著空氣中充滿劇毒的鈽 239、鍶90、銫137等輻射雲,感嘆:人類的愚行真是匪夷所思。了解暴露高劑量輻射後果的核電人員,不願忍受未來漫長的病痛折磨,向周遭的人道歉後, 跳海自盡。




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