Anti-nuclear activists on Wednesday released an assessment of three presidential candidates’ policies on nuclear power and energy development, saying the issue of nuclear waste is deliberately avoided, despite all candidates vowing to build a nuclear-free Taiwan.
Members of the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform said they requested the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and People First Party (PFP) to clarify their stance on multiple issues, including the decommissioning of the nation’s three operating nuclear plants, abolishing a mothballed plant, relocation of low-level radioactive waste from Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), treatment of used fuel rods and energy transition policy.
Platform members announced an analysis of the three parties’ policies.
“Although phasing out nuclear power and speeding up energy transition is at the center of all three parties’ policies, which is admittedly an advance from their stances years ago, they have not touched upon the sensitive issue of nuclear waste management. That is why we called a media conference to urge them to face the issue,” Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said
The three parties pledged to deactivate the three functioning nuclear plants by 2025, but the KMT and the PFP did not exclude the possibility of extending the service life of those plants if the nation faced power shortages.
Both the KMT and the PFP said the activation of the sealed nuclear plant should be decided by a referendum, while the DPP said it would not resume the construction of the unfinished plant.
Both the KMT and DPP said low-level nuclear waste currently stored on Orchid Island would be relocated until the site of a permanent or intermediate nuclear waste depository is decided, while no party has a management policy on high-level nuclear waste.
Orchid Island-based Tao Foundation director Siyaman Foangayan said there is never a practical relocation program and major parties have been circumventing the issue, adding that: “It is extremely unfair to Orchid Island residents who do not enjoy the benefit of power generation, but have to take in the worst garbage 23 million people in Taiwan produce.”
Meanwhile, the PFP said it supports an energy tax law, the KMT said such a law would overlap with the existing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (溫室氣體減量法) to double the burden on taxpayers, whereas the DPP said it would build a green tax system to internalize external costs.
Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the KMT completely misunderstood the nature of the energy tax, while asking the DPP and PFP to elaborate how their goals could be achieved.
“Years of anti-nuclear campaigns have seen major parties turn to abolishing nuclear power, but core issues like nuclear waste relocation and management remains unsettled. Voters must carefully review the candidates and vote for a nuclear-free homeland,” Hung said.
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