Tue, Sep 25, 2012 - Page 4 News List

DPP lawmakers consider nuclear power referendum

By Lee Hsin-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

While pushing for the review of a draft act for a nuclear-free homeland, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday raised the possibility of a nation-wide referendum on the issue.

After a bipartisan agreement reached in June, the draft act for a nuclear-free homeland is to be listed as one of the priority acts in the current legislative session.

DPP Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), who is behind the referendum effort, said Article 16 of the Referendum Act (公民投票法) stipulates that “if the Legislative Yuan deems it necessary to carry out a referendum on a matter as prescribed in Subparagraph 3 of Paragraph Two of Article 2, it may hand the main text and the statement of reasons, after they are adopted in the meeting of the Legislative Yuan, to the Central Election Commission to implement the referendum.”

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) listed the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant — which is still under construction — as one of the 14 most dangerous nuclear power plants worldwide, Kao said.

Taiwan is not starved for electricity and yet it has the highest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world, he said.

According to WNA statistics, nuclear power supplies a quarter of base-load power and 17 percent of total output nationwide, though it takes up only 11 percent of all gigawatt-electrical (GWe) installed capacity.

Citing 2008 production figures as an example, the WNA said coal-fired plants comprised 26 percent of the capacity and 38 percent of the total power, which means that out of the 238 billion kilowatt- hours (kWh) produced that year, nuclear power plants accounted for 40.8kWh in gross figures of power production.

At peak usage, electricity reserves were still at 32 percent, and reserves from off-peak hours were about 50 percent, Kao said.

As such, even if the first, second and third nuclear power plants were to stop operations, there would be enough electricity for use nationwide.

There is no need to continue using aging nuclear power plans, to say nothing of the fourth plant, which is a slap-dash job, Kao said.

He also said that the total investment originally earmarked for the fourth plant stood at about NT$169 million (US$5.7 million), but after numerous additions to the budget, it was now close to NT$300 million.

The fourth plant is a black hole into which the government has been pouring money and construction should cease, Kao said.

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