This would provide the nation with extra standby power of 3,300MW, when dealing with the short storage period of natural gas, and improve the plant’s reputation as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter.
Finally, the fracking technique is currently not widely used, and between 10 and 20 years might need to be waited for the price of natural gas to drop significantly. How should this issue be dealt with? There are two ways.
First, construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant could be continued, and it could operate to replace the three current nuclear power plants. This would relieve any US pressure and allow greater strategic standby power, granting the nation a better bargaining position in future negotiations over natural gas imports.
Second would be to terminate construction of the fourth plant and delay the decommissioning of the three operating plants, which are set to be decommissioned in between seven and 14 years, gradually replacing them with natural gas.
Even if the nuclear referendum does not pass, the authorities should still listen to public opinion and choose the better of these two methods, following a cost analysis. That would allow them a graceful exit from their current dilemma.
Hwang Jih-shang is a professor at National Taiwan Ocean University’s Institute of Optoelectronic Sciences.
Translated by Eddy Chang