Mon, Oct 24, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Minister renews nation’s nuclear-free pledge: report

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (李世光) spoke about the government’s goal of making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025 and the many challenges that remain toward achieving it, in an interview with the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun published yesterday.

Asked why Taiwan wants to implement a nuclear-free energy policy, Lee said that there has been a radical change in public opinion that has tilted toward a nuclear-free policy since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, and led to a nuclear accident that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the region around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

In addition, after the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May, it reaffirmed its goal of phasing out nuclear power by 2025 and its “renewable” energy policy, Lee said.

Necessary measures will be taken and more investment will be poured into the energy sector as long as the policy objective is ensured, he said.

Asked whether Taiwan is pressed for time to meet its nuclear-free goal by 2025 while maintaining a stable power supply, Lee said that the government is seeking alternative energy sources, such as solar energy and wind power, to offset the 14 percent share of electricity generated by nuclear power, as well as finding methods for the disposal of radioactive waste.

The report said that the government, led by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), plans to expand solar energy capacity by investing NT$1.2 trillion (US$38 billion) in the sector by 2025, which is expected to create 100,000 jobs.

The report also cited Chung Hsin Electric and Machinery Corp (中興電工) chairman Chiang Yi-fu (江義福), who said that the nuclear-free goal can only be achieved after raising public awareness about energy efficiency, adding that companies should cut energy consumption and the government should introduce preferential measures to encourage energy efficiency.

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