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Tue, Jun 13, 2000 - Page 2 News List

DPP releases report on fourth nuclear plant

ENERGY POLICY The DPP has published a document outlining its official stance on continued construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Five of its co-authors are on the 20-strong task force that will assist the MOEA in determining the plant's fate

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The DPP yesterday released an evaluation of the benefits of abandoning the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, arguing that adopting alternatives would benefit Taiwanese people in terms of economics, their health, the environment and sustainable development.

At a press conference held at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, DPP legislators claimed the new report refuted Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) and Atomic Energy Council (AEC) claims that using nuclear energy was the only solution to Taiwan's power shortage.

"Information included in our report can be considered as far more reliable than that which has been disseminated by agencies who support the development of nuclear power -- because they have never seriously considered adopting alternative energy sources," DPP legislator Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟) said.

"The Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA) soon-to-be-announced special team to review the project should take our report into account when conducting their work," Lai said.

Suggestions for alternative energy solutions presented in the report include: adopting liquefied natural gas, increasing energy efficiency in Taiwan, adjusting the structure of the industry, and lib-eralizing the power industry.

Co-authors of the 74-page document said that among other factors taken into account during their comprehensive analysis were the plant's economics, safety risks, environment impact, and possible legal complications.

"The cost of generating nuclear power is not as economically rosy as Taipower claims," said Wang To-far (王塗發), an economist from National Taipei University (台北大學). Wang illustrated his point by stating that 119 proposals to build nuclear power plants in the US had been canceled between 1972 and 1990, simply because the economics didn't work

Wang said that Taipower had underestimated the cost of total investment, using as evidence the fact that cost overruns on the second and third nuclear power plants ran at 2.8 and 2.5 times the initial estimated costs respectively.

"Don't forget that we still have to consider the plant's decommissioning cost and expenses involved in treating the radioactive waste it will generate. In addition, we need to take into account unseen costs the plant will bring about, such as from social disturbances and environmental deterioration," Wang said.

Public health experts said the AEC's data concerning the "safe dose" for humans exposed to ionizing radiation was out of date, and that it differed from the level updated by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in 1990 by a factor of five.

"Speaking as a doctor, there is no safe threshold for exposure to low-dose radiation," said Wang Jung-der (王榮德), a public health professor at National Taiwan University, referring to the necessity of both abandoning the planned nuclear power plant and shutting down the three operating plants in Taiwan.

The five co-authors of the report have been included in the MOEA's project review task force. The Executive Yuan approved the list of 20 members yesterday.

"Anti-nuclear activists will form a minority within the group, but we hope the team's internal debates will be made available to the public," said Shih Shin-min (施信民), professor of chemical engineering at National Taiwan University and a former head of Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU).

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