US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman yesterday praised Taiwan for the security measures the country has taken to protect public health and safety in the event of an accident at a nuclear power plant.
Poneman, who on Tuesday visited the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市), told reporters yesterday that Taiwan has built a “strong [nuclear] safety culture.”
“I was impressed both by the measures the plant had already taken before the Fukushima [Dai-ichi nuclear] incident, to have backup power and backup cooling water to minimize the threat of a nuclear accident ... and by the measures they have taken since Fukushima, to do what we [the US] have done, to study deeply the lessons that have been learned,” Poneman said.
Describing his discussions with officials and leaders in the business and academic community during his three-day visit as “robust, productive and fruitful,” Poneman said the people he spoke with impressed him with their “professionalism, technical expertise and questioning attitude” on safe nuclear operations.
Poneman also applauded the strong cooperation between the US and Taiwan under the Megaports initiative that has equipped the Port of Kaohsiung with radiation detection equipment, provides training to Taiwanese officials on how to operate and maintain the radiation detection system and has raised awareness of the potential danger of the materials.
With the Megaports initiative, dangerous materials, if they go astray, would be intercepted before they fall into the wrong hands, he said.
Poneman paid a visit to Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) before he wrapped up his visit and headed for Japan to have discussions with the authorities on nuclear energy and safety issues.
The most senior US official to visit Taiwan since 2000, Poneman said his trip reflected the same spirit that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed when she attended the APEC meeting in Honolulu last month: “The importance of Taiwanese participation in APEC and in multilateral institutions.”
“We will continue to focus on the strong economic and security cooperation that has had so many dimensions and that we have been able to develop further through such efforts as the Megaports initiative,” he said.