Wed, Apr 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet extols Gongliao plant benefits

NUCLEAR-POWERED PR:In a brochure, the Executive Yuan emphasized the risks of not finishing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, such as national power shortages

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Anti-nuclear activists perform a skit outside the legislature in Taipei yesterday to promote their demand for an immediate halt to construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan yesterday said Taiwan will face electricity shortages, higher electricity rates and could invite international trade sanctions due to elevated carbon dioxide emissions if the incomplete Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) is scrapped.

Halting construction of the controversial plant could also lead to a slump in the stock market and political and economic instability, the Executive Yuan said in a brochure compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday.

Written in a question-and-answer format, the brochure lists 25 arguments often raised by anti-nuclear activists to demand an immediate halt to the plant, followed by counterarguments.

The pamphlet aims to convince the public that Taiwan needs to finish building the plant if it is to embark on a path to a low-carbon environment and a nuclear-free homeland.

According to the brochure, halting the project would put the nation at risk of having to ration electricity from 2015, when the unused capacity is estimated to be between 5 percent and 10 percent, with the risk intensifying to a real threat in 2018.

If the power plant does not become operational next year as scheduled, electricity prices will increase by 35 to 42 percent in 2016 and by 13 to 15 percent in 2018 compared with the rates recorded in October this year, the brochure says.

The Executive Yuan insisted that the plant is capable of producing the cheapest energy in Taiwan, at a price of less than NT$2 per kilowatt-hour, adding the costs of nuclear waste disposal and the decommissioning of the plant is included in the electricity price.

If the plant is abandoned, the nation would have to increase its reliance on fossil fuels — likely coal and gas — to meet electricity demand, the brochure says.

The problem of meeting the growing demand for energy cannot be immediately solved with alternative energy sources due to the various obstacles and difficulty of developing solar, wind or geothermal energy, the brochure says.

In that case, Taiwan wouid emit an additional of 7.51 million to 16.19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, rendering it impossible for the country to reach its target of reducing emissions, the Executive Yuan said.

The brochure includes a section that seeks to address safety issues in which it rebutts an article published by Nature magazine in April 2011 that ranked two of Taiwan’s plants in a list of the world’s three most dangerous nuclear power plants.

The operational performance of Taiwan’s nuclear reactors have been rated above world standards by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it said.

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