Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - Page 4 News List

No firm details given yet of nuclear plant’s sealing

POWER PLAY:DPP legislators have been refused a copy of a Taipower draft plan detailing the NT$2 billion-a-year sealing of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Legislators and environmental conservation groups yesterday called on Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to hold an administrative hearing to allow for broader civic participation in issues surrounding the sealing of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), which could cost up to NT$2 billion (US$66.4 million) a year in maintenance.

Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association attorney Tsai Ya-ying (蔡雅瀅) told a press conference in Taipei that an administrative hearing would call for both advocates and detractors of the issue to provide documented evidence in the debating process.

“The result would be a substantial debate, rather than both sides feuding with each other,” she said, adding that it would be an effective way for Taipower to explore new ideas in its policymaking.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said a Taipower draft detailing the plan to shutter the plant has yet to be delivered to the legislature for deliberation since the Executive Yuan issued an order on April 27 to seal the plant.

He said that he and other legislators were refused a copy of the draft from Taipower and the ministry, which he criticized as violating the legislators’ right to monitor government policies.

Quoting Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝), who said in May that the estimated maintenance fees for the shuttered nuclear plant stood at approximately NT$2 billion annually, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) called into question the real purpose of the money, saying that she suspects the government is planning to use it to complete the construction of the heavily criticized No. 1 reactor.

Citing an announcement issued by the Executive Yuan in April, which stated that no additional money would go into the budget for the Gongliao plant before its future is determined by a plebiscite, she urged Taipower and the ministry to provide the public with a comprehensive report specifying how they plan to spend the proposed NT$2 billion and how the plant would be sealed as soon as possible.

DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) criticized the plan to shutter the plant as “unnecessary,” as it would only waste more taxpayers’ money.

She said that Taipower is on the verge of bankruptcy and has submitted a request to the ministry to either allocate a budget for the plan, or impose what she called a “shutter tax,” which would result in all Taiwanese paying for the plan.

The draft, which is to be delivered to the Executive Yuan for approval before being deliberated on by the legislature, was returned to Taipower by Chang earlier this month, who told the company that certain details “need adjustments.”

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