Following Chen Shui-bian's
Many people are worry about possible power shortages if the plant is not built. However, alternatives to the construction of an additional nuclear plant definitely exist.
The installment of new power generators and an increase in the output efficiency of fossil-fuel generators should be sufficient to produce additional power that exceeds the volume of power produced by another nuclear power plant.
The estimated volume of power produced by the new nuclear power plant is 2.7 million kilowatts. Currently, Taipower has at least 27 fossil-fuel generators, with a total power output of 11.9 million kilowatts. The output efficiency of these traditional generators is low. They are capable of transforming into electricity 30 to 34 calories out of every 100 calories. If Taipower replaces them with more efficient combined-cycle generators, the overall output efficiency would increase by 30 to 40 percent.
In other words, the power production would increase by 3.57 million to 4.76 million kw, without any increase in pollution level or carbon dioxide exhaust. This increase far exceeds the electricity output of the Fourth Nuclear Plant.
In 1995, Taipower chose the less efficient single-cycle generators over the highly efficient combined-cycle generators for its new power plant. The incident tells us that Taipower is not enthusiastic about increasing output efficiency. It has made up its mind to build additional nuclear plants.
As a further example, Formosa Plastics
Therefore, we can say with confidence that we do not need to construct more nuclear plants, if we raise efficiency in electricity production, distribution, transmission, and consumption; liberalize the power industry; and halt the construction of energy-intensive and pollution-intensive petrochemical, cement and steel plants.
Under the circumstances, why do people continue to worry about power shortages?
1. Taipower threatens the public with power rationing. People are misled into believing that there will be shortages without the construction of another nuclear plant.
2. Taipower spends the taxpayers' money on a public relations campaign to lobby public support for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The team has resorted to using many troubling strategies For example, the team has repeatedly told the public there are ways to deal with nuclear active waste, when in fact no solution has been found anywhere in the world to deal with such waste.
Taipower has already begun lobbying decision makers in Chen's new administration and DPP legislators.
3. In the past, Taipower monopolized the power industry under the protection of the government. Although private construction of power generators is now permissible, private sale of power is still banned. As a result, people have to rely completely on Taipower. No wonder the company can act as it pleases.
Everyone is worried that an enormous amount of money would be wasted by halting the half-complete construction of fourth plant. Contracts allegedly valued between NT$40 billion to NT$80 billion are involved.
Actually, more money would be wasted if we continue construction. The sooner we halt construction, the less money will be wasted.
The total budget for the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is NT$169.7 billion. Given the experience gained from the construction of the second and third nuclear plants, we know that the budget will be repeatedly increased.
The budget approved by the Legislative Yuan in 1973 for the construction of the second plant was NT$21.955 billion. That number was subsequently increased four times. By 1982, over NT$63.037 billion or more than 2.78 times the initial figure had been spent.
The initial budged approved in 1975 for the construction of the third plant was NT$35.774 billion. That budget was increased three times, and by 1984, over NT$97.445 billion or 2.72 times the initial figure approved had been spent.
It now appears that the construction of the fourth plant should take more than NT$400 billion. But this figure does not include the cost for nuclear waste management and the social costs to generations to come.
Sooner or later, our people, just like people in more advanced countries, will abandon the use of nuclear power plants out of a realization of the impracticality of nuclear power.
Why not halt construction of the fourth plant now? Wouldn't it save us several hundred million dollars?
We call on the Chen administration to engage in a comprehensive evaluation of Taiwan's energy policy, immediately push for the liberalization of the power industry, eliminate Taipower's nuclear power public relations team and establish a team to promote the efficiency of fossil-fuel generators.
Wang Jung-Der is a professor at the Graduate Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University.
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