The Control Yuan yesterday censured state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) over its changes to the design of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant by up to 1,000 items, demanding the government not allow the plant to start operation unless it is safe.
Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), in charge of investigation into safety issues at the plant, said Taipower had made more than 1,000 arbitrary design changes without permission from General Electric Co (GE), which originally designed the plant.
“That Taipower only partially followed the original design and stuck with its plan to make the changes in defiance of orders from the Atomic Energy Council showed that it ignored nuclear security issues at the power plants,” Huang said.
Following the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsumami, the safety of nuclear power has resurfaced as a public concern, prompting the government to consider postponing the original scheduled opening of the fourth nuclear power plant by one year, to the end of 2013.
Huang urged the central government to push Taiwan’s participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and related non-government organizations to enhance the country’s nuclear inspections and its inclusion in a nuclear incident information system.
The Control Yuan also said the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) had committed serious errors in its solar energy promotion program.
The ministry encouraged farmers in Pingtung County to abandon their fish ponds, which had been blamed for serious land-subsidence problems because of overuse of underground water, and switch to solar energy production following Typhoon Morakot in August 2009.
However, earlier this year it changed its subsidy policy. It decided that the subsidies would not be disbursed from the day the contract was signed — as originally indicated — but on the day construction is completed. The move triggered complaints.
Control Yuan member Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀), who initiated the motion to censure the ministry, said the ministry had violated the principle of good faith by arbitrarily changing the subsidy plan, which in turn damaged the government’s credibility and image.