Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) yesterday reaffirmed Taiwan’s commitment to becoming free of nuclear power, ruling out the possibility of renewing licenses for existing nuclear plants.
“To build a nuclear-free homeland, all of the three existing -nuclear-power plants will go offline once their licenses expire,” Shih said during a legislative hearing.
The minister also said that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), now under construction would become operational only after its safety was guaranteed.
Lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) questioned the necessity of the fourth nuclear plant, describing the project as “a time bomb that burns money.”
The project’s total cost could eventually grow to more than NT$330 billion (US$11.18 billion), 94 percent higher than the original budget of NT$169.7 billion approved by the Cabinet in 1992, they said.
Shih said that state-run Taiwan Power Co, which operates the nuclear plants, would review the budget and time frame of the project and submit a report by the end of this year.
“It will be a very important -mechanism to attain the ‘nuclear-free’ goal, while ensuring no power rationing, maintenance of reasonable electricity prices and the upholding of carbon reduction promises in the process,” Shih said.