President to Visit Orchid Island Tomorrow: Nuclear Waste Issue and Transitional Justice

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will visit Orchid Island tomorrow, August 15, to confer with residents about a range of issues including the issue of nuclear waste currently stored on the island.

A Presidential Palace spokesperson said the president will offer an apology in person to the aboriginal residents for past transgressions. President Tsai apologized to the nation’s indigenous peoples in a formal speech at the Presidential Palace August 1, 2016. In the speech, the president made specific reference to the Tao (Yami) people of Orchid Island (Lanyu), and apologized for the fact that a nuclear waste facility was constructed on their island without their knowledge or approval.

The President is expected to offer further compensation to the island’s aboriginal residents due to the impasse in plans to remove the nuclear waste.

Taipower, the company that owns Taiwan’s three aging nuclear power plants, has consistently reneged on its promises to remove and relocate the waste.

In the mid-1970s, an illiterate tribal elder signed a document that government representatives said gave approval for a fish cannery to be constructed at the site. They instead built a nuclear waste storage facility.

corroded barrels of radioactive waste on Orchid Island, Taiwan.
Corroded barrels of nuclear waste stored at a facility on Orchid Island. Picture: Orchid Island Tribal Cultural Foundation, 2012
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