Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Chu takes aim at Tsai’s ‘nuclear-free homeland’

IMPRACTICAL:The KMT presidential candidate said Tsai’s proposals are just ‘a bunch of eye-catching slogans,’ that would lead to power outages and electricity price hikes

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu answers questions at a meeting of environmental group the Society of Wilderness in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday took another shot at Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), saying her pledge to create a “nuclear-free homeland” is unrealistic.

“Building a nuclear-free homeland is also one of my objectives, but it requires supplementary measures and must not end up as an empty slogan,” Chu said during a meeting with representatives of several environmental groups in Taipei.

Dismissing Tsai’s campaign promise of a nuclear-free Taiwan by 2025, Chu said he did not believe it would be possible to meet that deadline without raising electricity prices for a decade and suffering power shortages.

“[Tsai’s pledge] is simply a bunch of eye-catching slogans strung together. What really matters is how to transform the idea into reality,” Chu said.

Tsai first outlined the plan when she ran for president in the 2012 election, in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in Japan on March 11, 2011.

Her proposal would seek to eliminate the nation’s dependence on nuclear energy through a multi-pronged approach, including exploring sources of alternative energy, improving the efficiency of power generation, promoting energy conservation, rearranging the industrial structure and pushing for liberalization of the electricity industry.

Tsai picked 2025 as a goalpost because that is when the Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township (恆春) is scheduled to be decommissioned.

Chu said that the issue of nuclear power requires an honest appraisal.

“The cost of generating nuclear power relies on many factors. It should also include the fees for disposing of radioactive waste and the environmental costs,” Chu said.

A thorough calculation of the respective costs for nuclear power and renewable energy sources is necessary for the nation to choose a more suitable option, he said, as he challenged Tsai to a debate on energy policies.

Chu said he has already set in motion his plans to promote energy conservation in Taiwan, citing his policies as New Taipei City mayor to install LED light bulbs in 220,000 traffic lights and introduce “renewable energy” plans for the city’s schools.

However, the amount of energy saved by these measures pales when compared with the electrical demands of industry, which accounts for the largest share of the nation’s total electricity consumption, Chu said.

Pushing for energy conservation requires a two-pronged policy: subsidizing corporations’ purchase of energy-efficient equipment and imposing punitive electricity prices on businesses with that use power excessively, he said.

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