Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Nuclear must be retained: Taipower

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan could face a shortage of electricity if it scraps its nuclear power generation policy, Taiwan’s sole power provider said yesterday.

With its limited resources, Taiwan has only “limited room” to develop green energy, Taiwan Power Co (台電) chairman Edward Chen (陳貴明) said at a legislative hearing.

Defending Taiwan’s nuclear policy, Chen said he disagreed with a proposal made by Evergreen Group (長榮集團) chairman Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) a day earlier that Taiwan should seek to develop renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear plants for the sake of sustainable national development.

Evergreen Group owns the nation’s largest shipping company, Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), and operates the nation’s second-largest air carrier, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空).

“Simply building more thermal plants and developing renewable energy as a whole — as suggested by Chang — cannot replace -nuclear energy,” Chen said.

He added that without nuclear power, Taiwan’s electricity operating reserve rate would have dropped from 22 percent this year to just 7 percent, to 3 percent next year and minus 2.2 percent two years from now, which would trigger a power shortage crisis.

In electricity networks, the operating reserve is the generating capacity available to the system operator within a short interval of time to meet demand in case a generator goes down or there is a disruption to supply.

Taiwan now operates three nuclear power plants — two in New Taipei City (新北市) in the north and one in Pingtung County in the south — with a fourth scheduled to become operational late next year.

However, Japan’s nuclear crisis has prompted local environmentalists and the Democratic Progressive Party to demand that the government suspend construction at the yet-to-be completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

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