Participants attending a public hearing yesterday on nuclear safety and emergency response measures remained concerned as they expressed doubts about the government’s contingency plans in the event of a crisis.
Saying that the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, is an important turning point in the nuclear policies of many countries, former Environmental Protection Administration minister Lin Jun-yi (林俊義) said Germany has begun to re-evaluate its nuclear energy policy, while Taiwan’s government wants to continue developing nuclear power.
“The safety of 23 million -Taiwanese should not be decided by technological bureaucracy,” Lin said at the hearing hosted by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), environmental groups and government agencies.
As all man-made constructions have their own risks and cannot be absolutely safe, the government shouldn’t keep promising that they are safe, he said.
According to the Atomic Energy Council, the council has asked state-owned Taiwan Power Co (-Taipower) to re-evaluate the possible effects an earthquake would have on the nation’s three operating nuclear power plants. The council has also demanded that Taipower upgrade the seismic design -guidelines of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant from 0.3g to 0.4g, to improve its resistance to earthquakes.
Shih Shin-min (施信民), a professor of chemical engineering at National Taiwan University, asked whether the government had a practical emergency response protocol at hand, and whether a 5km radius evacuation area was enough.
“If there aren’t practical and effective plans, then the power plants should be retired,” he said.
In response, a Taipower official said the company is only in charge of the operation of the nuclear plants and executing the energy policies of the superior ministry, and therefore could not decide whether nuclear power should be scrapped.