Sun, Apr 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Conference seeks to address question of nuclear power

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Conference on Environmental Action Towards Sustainability ended yesterday amid fervent exchanges focusing on the resumption of the fourth nuclear power plant project and setting an exact timeline to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide as dictated by the Kyoto Protocol.

Representatives from environmental protection groups urged the government to gradually shut down all nuclear power plants and opposed using nuclear power to achieve the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emission.

Participants managed to reach consensus on 248 items but failed to do so on 72 other items.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that some of the suggestions could be implemented soon and that the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) will strive to resolve some of the controversies in the next few months.

Su also promised that he would convene the NCSD as soon as possible.

Responding to the controversies over the two issues, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Kuo-lung (張國龍) said any nation had to consider whether or not it has the capacity to develop nuclear power.

"We have to assess the risks involved in building nuclear power plants," Chang said, "We also have to consider whether Taiwan is able to handle the risks."

The two-day forum was co-organized by the NCSD and the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

Minister with Portfolio Lin Si-yao (林錫耀), who is also the chief executor of the Council, said that the NCSD would adopt the consensus reached at the conference as guidelines to revise the nation's sustainable development action program.

Yesterday, the conference seminars focused on issues related to constructing an eco-friendly and healthy environment, conservation, and civic engagement.

Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) had expressed support for the resumption of the fourth nuclear power plant project during the first day of the conference on Friday.

He said Taiwan should develop fusion plasma confinement technology to generate nuclear power, which has proven to have a low environmental impact.

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