Plan for biotech complex fails EPA screening

January 20th, 2011 | Categories: 2011 | Tags:

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The “national biotech complex development plan” raised by the Academia Sinica yesterday failed to pass the first round of screening by an environmental impact evaluation panel under the Cabinet-level Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

The evaluation panel asked the Academia Sinica to come up with as many as 11 supplementary documents and materials for screening at the next screening session later.

The proposed national biotech park will be located in the old site of the 202 Arsenal in Nangang, Taipei, now a 185-hectare green land.

During the screening session, members of the screening panel said there are quite a few waste power converters and capacitors left on the site of the former 202 Arsenal, which contain an extremely high amount of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) detrimental to human body. In addition, the soil there may contain residuals of heavy metals and dioxin, posing great threat to human health.

Furthermore, panel members also noted that the ammunition storehouse inside the arsenal still contains highly dangerous gunpowder that may explode during the complex development process.

Accordingly, screening members called for the construction of an 8-meter explosion-proof wall to minimize possible disasters.

In response, Wong Chu-huey, president of Academia Sinica, said at the screening session that his agency will come up with more detailed planning concerning anti-explosion, anti-flood, and the location of the animal breeding center, so as to relieve the worries of panel members about the safety of the engineering operations.

Representatives of such environmental protection groups as the Society of Wildness and the Green Party called for the Academia Sinica to suspend the development of national biotech complex on the old site of 202 Arsenal, which, they stressed, is quite an important green land to Taipei’s ecological development.

The environmental protectionists proposed that the Academia Sinica integrate the national biotec complex into high-level research complex or the Nangang Software Park, or rent other land area to site the proposed complex.

Under the “national biotech park development plan,” there will be a national biotech research park, measuring 25.31 hectares and a ecology research park, sizing 11.94 hectares.

There will be six major buildings inside the complex, and total construction cost is estimated at NT$22.275 billion.

The most controversial park of the plan is the establishment of a national animal experiment center, where up to 47,000 animals will be raised, including as many as 41,200 rats.

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