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Fri, Aug 04, 2000 - Page 2 News List

US experts ask DPP for help on nuclear plant


Visiting US energy experts yesterday shifted their lobbying efforts to legislators, especially those from the DPP, in the belief that these political figures could convince the central government to scrap the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四廠) project.

Accompanied by anti-nuclear activists from the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, John Byrne and Edward Smeloff met with legislators at the DPP caucus office in the Legislative Yuan yesterday afternoon.

During the meeting, Byrne, the team's leader, told DPP legislators that the new government should take into account the liberalization of the electricity industry when considering the nuke plant issue.

DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) said he agreed with Byrne, and would urge the DPP-dominated central government to reform out-of-date energy policies.

Smeloff told of his experience as an elected board director of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District between 1987 and 1997. During that time, residents voted to close a nuclear power plant in that California city.

DPP Legislators Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟) and Chou Ching-yu (周清玉) said that Smeloff's experience could be used as an important reference point when discussing alternatives to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), a professor from National Taiwan University and an anti-nuclear activist from the environmental protection union, urged DPP legislators to oppose the use of nuclear energy.

Before visiting the legislators yesterday, Byrne, Smeloff and two other US energy experts -- Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins -- paid a visit to Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), the minister of economic affairs.

Lin said he would not comment on the project because a ministry task force was reviewing the project.

"The project has its own historical burdens, but the coming final decision will be made based on different perspectives, including environmental and labor costs," Lin said.

In 1980, the Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) proposed the power plant, and the project had been supported by the old KMT-dominated central government.

Company officials say the plant is roughly 30 percent complete.

The DPP's victory in the March presidential election renewed hope that the project will be reviewed.

A ministry task force will decide the plant's future in September.

Lin told the US energy experts that he personally favors developing solar energy technologies and wind power plants, as Taiwan's unique climate and geographic conditions made those options ideal.

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