Fri, Aug 23, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Nuclear plan ‘unfeasible,’ Han criticized

POWER PROPOSAL:The Cabinet’s spokeswoman said that the government would ensure stable energy supply, while lawmakers said Han Kuo-yu’s plan was deceptive

By Sean Lin, Jason Pan and Lin Hui-chin  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party legislators speak at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday in front of a poster that reads: “How can a nuclear power salesman run for president?”

Photo: Peng Wan-hsin, Taipei Times

Restarting work on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and deferring decommissioning of the Guosheng plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and Ma-anshan plant in Pingtung County’s Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) would pose technical difficulties, so plans to do so are infeasible, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said yesterday in response to a proposal by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has said on numerous occasions that Taiwan would not face an energy shortage in the run-up to 2030, Kolas told a news conference in Taipei after a Cabinet meeting.

State-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) in January said it plans to invest more than NT$400 billion (US$12.75 billion) to develop sources of renewable energy over the next 15 years, with the aim of expanding the nation’s total installed offshore wind power capacity to 180 megawatts and total installed solar power capacity to 100 megawatts by 2030.

The government is dedicated to developing sources of renewable energy, with those currently installed allowing the nation to retain an operating reserve of 10 percent last month, despite peak summer demand for electricity, an unprecedented feat, she said.

The Executive Yuan reiterated that it is the government’s job to ensure a clean and stable supply of energy while maintaining public safety, she said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers denounced an energy policy proposed by the advisory team of Han’s, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, calling it “deceptive.”

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that she was frightened by Han’s promise to restart work at the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the shortsightedness of former premier Simon Chang (張善政), who is head of Han’s advisory team.

The plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) was officially mothballed in July 2015 during then-president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, while state-run Taipower last year started transporting unused fuel rods from the plant to the US.

The policy proposed by Han and Chang became an “evangelical meeting” to promote nuclear power, Kuan said.

While the DPP administration plans to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, Han’s team’s proposal to generate 50 percent of total energy from renewable sources sounds unrealistic and needs more explanation, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.

Han’s team must clarify whether it wants to build additional nuclear power plants, Yeh said.

Separately, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Han should do more homework before commenting on energy policy, adding that New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi’s (侯友宜) concerns over nuclear waste and his hesitation to resume construction of the mothballed plant is more practical.

Taiwan does not face power shortages, she said, adding that any proposals to restart work on the plant need to answer the question about how to tackle nuclear waste.

Policy explanation requires pragmatic efforts over time, which should not be outsourced to an advisory team that actually comprises members from the previous KMT administration, Tsai said.

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