Orchid Island and Taipower's Nuclear Waste

This is from the 1993 Wise International article that @biobio linked to earlier:


Does anyone know whether the above information is accurate? In May of 2010, the poster @TwoTongues pasted a Wikipedia article quote that said something similar to the above quote:

Name parts of Taiwan as you please - #21 by TwoTongues

Interestingly, though, the quote from Wikipedia was edited out of Wikipedia in February of 2012:

Orchid Island: Difference between revisions - Wikipedia

A Chinese-language Wikipedia article mentions the allegation and a similar allegation, but the article also seems to dispute them, or at least to give equal space to an opposing version of the facts.

But an English-language Wikipedia article on the Yami people also makes the allegation that the people were told that a cannery was being built.

The source cited in that Wikipedia article is a Global Voices article by I-fan Lin.

It would be nice to encounter a source that would truly settle the matter. Maybe such a source doesn’t exist.

This is from materials on the Atomic Energy Council site that @biobio linked to earlier:


I kinda don’t get that first AEC quote above. Is it that Lanyu isn’t considered part of Taiwan? I haven’t read that whole set of materials. Maybe I’m being unfair.

As to the second quote above, I wonder if the party or parties who caused the Da Fa No. 1 (大發1號 / 大發壹號) to be sent to Lanyu on that trip had gone through the process mentioned in the quote before doing so.

Charlie Jack (and other forumosans interested in the history of Taipower dumping nuclear waste on Lanyu): try to get a hold of Hu Tai-Li’s excellent documentary film Voices of Orchid Island (1993), which gives a glimpse of the different challenges facing Tao / Yami people, including the nuclear waste issue. The final third of the film juxtaposes the views of different Tao individuals, including some trying to mobilize their communities in protest, with the “official views” of Taipower officials. It’s well worth seeing.


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From my last visit to Ponso no Tao, I noticed a generational divide amongst the Tao people. The younger and older generations can’t even agree on things like changing their tribal name from Yami to Tao. Many of the elders prefer Yami because the Hanji seem prettier.

It’s interesting because the younger generation faces much greater challenges when it comes to retaining their own culture and preserving their environment, while the older generation has less trouble with those aspects.

The older generation also went through more brainwashing education, and as such often sides with those in power. The younger generations are also often forced to leave the island to earn a living, making their voices even less heard on the island.

In an society where wisdom from age is highly valued, it frustrates the younger generation to the point they sometimes feel powerless.

Perhaps things are changing, but more awareness is needed and people in Taiwan need to speak out against Taipower as well.

The Taipower port…


Thanks, afterspivak. There’s a preview (it looks like about the first ten minutes) of the film here:

I stumbled on that here:

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Wow! Forumosans are really coming through on this one. Lots of beautiful pics and rich descriptions.

I took a class in college called Cultures in Conflict (Anthropology 101). It seems like the Yami/Tao story would have made a more relevant case study than anything we saw in that course. Of course, their use as a case study may feel like even more exploitation. Maybe a home-grown anthropologist will someday do a proper update of the Martinson book. In any case, it is fascinating…

Old culture that grew within a tropical paradise dealing with issues of annexation, exploitation and marginalization by a developed society. And of course there is the flip side of Taiwan’s own oppression-related identity issues and internal strife.


9 posts were merged into an existing topic: Orchid Island: Must see things?

Lanyu residents demand removal of nuclear waste


So, what ever happened to the nuclear waste dumpsite on Orchid Island? I remember reading twenty years ago that the Orchid Island site was in a state of decay, with some of the metal drums in their concrete bunkers rusting.

The post just above mentions a protest as recently as 2017. Nuclear waste allegedly has not been dumped on Lanyu (Orchid) since 1996.

What has Taiwan done with its nuclear waste since 1996? Does anyone know about the fate of Orchid island and the dump site, or about current methods of waste containment and disposal in Taiwan?

Perhaps they are selling it to Kim Jong-un for a fast buck?

Orchid Island Dumpsite Info

Think all the waste is still in orchid island and the spent fuel rods are still in pools of water at the power stations

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They were planning to move it to Taidong a decade ago, but you can imagine why it stalled, who wants to have nuclear waste, even low level nuclear waste, right next to their home?

Back in 2016, the Atomic Energy Council sued Taipower for failing to relocate the site as promised, and required Taipower to pay 10 million in fines, and Taipower refused to pay, so in 2017 the AEC increased the fine to 30 million. Taipower went to the court, and the court absolved them of any responsibility.

The reason why the court ruled in favor of Taipower is that even though the law required the site to be moved, the residents living around target sites in Kimmen and Taidong refused to hold a referendum to block the procedure for even going through, so Taipower argues it wasn’t their fault. The courts agreed, and Taipower doesn’t have to pay for failing on their promise to relocate the site. God knows if Taipower is even trying.

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Taiwan proper doesn’t want them
The USA stores a bunch in salt mines in UTAH I read

Maybe send ours to green island
No that sucks too
How about that islet off wanli
Nobody lives there

Seems like a place where they could radioactivate the island and Godzilla will hatch and come for us ?

It’s all still there on Orchid? Did they rebuild the dumpsite, I wonder?

Howabout simply blast it all to space on Elon’s rockets – to Mars? It’s already really radioactive on Mars, anyway:

Radiation levels on Mars compared to Earth

Then, Elon can pay to clean up the old dumpsite and organize an annual music festival or even a permanent research colony. Orchid’s dumpsite would be a great environment to test out designs for habitats intended for Mars.

(Methinks they will end up burrowing deep down into that uninhabited islet, hey?)

No. The place is as dumpy as I last saw it.

My pro-nuclear-fission -power co-worker keeps suggesting blasting all nuclear waste, including the fuel rods, into the sun. I’m sure nothing bad would happen.

If we are dumping waste somewhere, how about do it to a place where we are unlikely to ever try to live there, like Venus, where it’s just way too hot and the pressure is too high to live.

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Aka colonizers.


It never ceases to amaze me how people sincerely embrace hare-brained schemes – as if just being able to envision it makes it automatically easy and practicable. Lol. …One rocket blows up, and the waste payload blooms into a nice radiation shower for all to enjoy. Great for getting a quick sunburn, though!


You would not even need to visit Orchid Island to experience it!


Well, the issue has been manipulated and turned highly partisan in Taiwan. A decade ago, ending new fission-based nuclear power was a consensus, if not across the aisle, then definitely among the voters from both sides.

Staunch uranium/plutonium fission-based nuclear power supporters would also say things like I’m fine with low level nuclear waste being stored in Taipei, or in my basement.

Taiwan doesn’t have a stable enough geology to store nuclear waste deep underground without worrying about contaminating underground water. So we can’t just stick them into salt-mines or do what Sweden and Finland have done, building a proper final disposal deep under granite islands. We have no place to put nuclear wastes, period.

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Yes, the stark reality suggests nuclear energy was never a good choice for Taiwan. But learning the lesson the hard way is not making any deep impression on those who pretend to power, though. They just forget the nightmare and do nothing. That in itself is frightening.

The press doesn’t play a big role in stirring up this issue, either. You suggest everyone believed getting rid of nuclear on Taiwan is the way to go. This seems to be the policy of the government, at least according to the current plan to shutdown No. 1 and No. 2 at the “end of their operational lives” – which is 40 years:

Reactors to shutdown by 2024 and 25

But as you conclude: there is no place that is safe for storing nuclear waste anywhere in the vicinity of Taiwan due to the unstable geology. Same with Japan, too.

… I am inclined write a satirical novel about all this crooked intransigence and skullduggery, which has been going on under the tables between nations for years. The tolerance for doing bad things is directly relative to the cash-power of those with the privilege to deal. It isn’t just about counterfeit cigarettes and ransomware… The illicit transport of dangerous goods where the sun isn’t supposed to shine is something nobody knows anything about.

Example: containers loaded with 1,600 tonnes of plastic waste were sent back from Cambodia to the U.S. and Canada in 2019:

“not a dustbin”


Interestingly, or rather unfortunately and tragically, that’s how the Orchid Island Nuclear Waste dump started. The government never told the islanders what the construction project was for, and for a while they lied to, and told it’s going to be a factory that will bring jobs to the island.


What do you mean, “the local residents blocked the procedure…” What “procedure” exactly, and why and how did they “block” it?