7 May 2002

Taiwan in negotiations with Solomon Islands to dump nuclear waste

3:38 am on 7 May 2002

Taiwan says it is negotiating with Solomon Islands to store nuclear waste from the Taiwan Power Company.

The plan is in violation of the Waigani Convention which bans the importation of such waste into Pacific Island Forum countries.

The Central News Agency in Taipei quotes the economics minister, Lin Yi-fu, as saying that the Taiwanese government is yet to complete negotiations to ship almost 100-thousand barrels of nuclear waste from its storage site on Orchid island.

The minister says the environmental protection agency is also looking at finding a possible site in China, Russia or North Korea.

The report from Taiwan coincides with a visit to Taipei by the Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, who is seeking more financial assistance from its main aid donor.

Earlier this year, a group of landowners in Solomons' Makira province was negotiating with a Taiwanese company, Primeval Forests, to accept large quantities of what the company describes as human waste.

The planned export was criticised by environmental groups and locals who staged a demonstration.

The principal quarantine officer has said the waste cannot be imported legally without an assessment which will take more than a year to carry out.