Fri, Sep 30, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Nuclear power plant could close earlier, minister says

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has not ruled out closing the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) — the country’s first nuclear power plant — sooner than scheduled, providing that the fourth nuclear power plant functions stably when it comes on stream, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.

The government would prefer not to extend the life of the three nuclear power plants that are currently in operation, Shih said in a presentation to the legislature’s Economics Committee.

However, construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市) — also known as the Longmen Nuclear Power Plant — which began in 1999, would continue, he said.

If it comes online in time, the reactors of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant could be shut down sooner than the dates scheduled in 2018 and 2019, he added.

“Safety is the basic consideration. We are confident that the No. 4 plant will begin operations as scheduled,” he said in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung’s (丁守中) question on whether Shih was certain of the date the new plant would start production.

Meanwhile, the MOEA has withdrawn an application that was submitted to the Atomic Energy Council to extend the life of the Jinshan plant, Shih said.

The question of when the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里), also known as the second nuclear power plant, would be retired depended on the overall power supply situation in the country, he said. It must be ensured that there would be no power shortages (when the plant was shut down), he added.

He also said that Taiwan had no timetable for achieving a nuclear-free environment. Nuclear power policies should be made on the basis that there would be no power rationing, that electricity rates would be reasonable and that global demands to reduce carbon emissions would be met, he said.

Whether to proceed with construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant has become an issue since a nuclear disaster occurred at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in March as a result of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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