Nothing fishy about Taiwan nuke plant, snorkellers sayTue Apr 29, 2008
fishy (DISHONEST) Hide phonetics
seeming dishonest or false:
There's something fishy going on here.
By Ralph Jennings
KENTING, Taiwan (Reuters Life!) - As Taiwan heats up ahead of the summer, hundreds of beach bums are splashing down at a beach next to a nuclear power plant that spews cooling water straight into the ocean.
They try not to think about it.
"I haven't evaluated the safety here. That's something scholars and experts should research more," said fire department employee Hsieh Rong-chan, 36, as he suited up for diving, adding that the water at least looked clean.
State-run Taiwan Power Co's 340-hectare No. 3 Nuclear Power Station opened in 1985 beside a stretch of sand famous among visitors to Kenting, a cluster of beach communities that draw thousands of beach-goers. Taiwan's two other nuclear power plants do not border swimming beaches.
The brown domes of two nuclear plant towers loom in clear view of sunbathers on the white sands, while snorkelers paddle in a coral-rich inlet right next to the open, cement-sided cooling water outtake channel.
Swimmer Eugene Joubert, 47, originally from South Africa, said he saw a moray eel and armadas of normal-looking, two-eyed, single-tailed tropical fish through clear waters about 15 meters under the ocean surface, right next to the outtake channel.
"It's not a problem at all," he said, toweling off with his three dogs, who had also been in the water."I didn't know the nuclear water was running. It's one of the best sites in Taiwan."
The water was almost warm enough to break a sweat, he added.
"Taiwan people think that if you can't see the danger, then danger basically doesn't exist," said You Hui-chin, 37, as she dipped her toes in a tidal pool a few dozen meters from the cooling water outlet, and watched her twin 4-year-old sons barge further into the ocean.
Some swimmers at Nanwan believe that as long as they only swim next to the nuclear plant occasionally, rather than every day, they will survive.
Others are surprised to find the nuclear plant and refuse to touch the water.
"I'd be afraid," said Chen Ying-rong, a high school student on a three-day tour of Kenting. "It's not appropriate (to swim next to the plant). There could be pollution."
Taiwan Power expels nothing radioactive, only water used to cool the reactors that produce seven percent of Taiwan's electricity, said plant director Chen Pu-tsan.
Kenting locals report no illness or mutated fish.
The power company acknowledges coral blanching from the outtake water, which is 31 to 32 degrees Celsius, higher than normal ocean temperatures. They will spend a one-off $70,000 to protect the surrounding coral reefs."People are not afraid," Chen said.
"You can see, this beach is packed everywhere and in the background are our stacks."
(Editing by Gillian Murdoch)