Sat, May 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Premier reassures on nuclear-free homeland dream

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Atomic Energy Council Minister Hsieh Shou-shing, left, along with Premier William Lai, center, and Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin, answers lawmakers’ questions yesterday at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he is determined and confident that the government would be able to achieve its goal of making the nation a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, while maintaining a stable energy supply, improving air quality and fostering a green energy sector.

Lai was delivering a report on the nation’s energy policy, the tripping of a nuclear reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and the government’s plans to build a new Shenao Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳).

The goal to build a nuclear-free homeland was proposed in compliance with the amendments to the Electricity Act (電業法) passed in January last year, which states that the nation’s nuclear power generation facilities should cease operations by the end of 2025, Lai told legislators.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last year pledged to reduce the nation’s coal-fired energy supply to 30 percent and boost the supply of renewable energy and natural gas to 20 percent and 50 percent respectively by 2025, while ensuring stable energy supply, he said.

To achieve this goal, the Executive Yuan is implementing a two-year photovoltaics plan, which involves installing solar panels on the roofs of public agencies, factories and farmhouses, as well as on water and in areas used for salt mining or where the land is subsiding, Lai said.

The initiative has added 1.7 gigawatts (GW) — surpassing its original goal of 1.52GW — to the nation’s installed capacity, which is expected to further increase to 6.5GW in 2020 and 20GW in 2025, he said.

As for its four-year wind energy plan, the government expects to increase total installed capacity to 1.33GW by 2020 and 6.7GW by 2025, of which 5.5GW would come from offshore wind farms, he said.

The Executive Yuan estimates that the total output capacity of renewables would reach 54,600 gigawatt-hour by 2025, which would translate to a reduction of 2,888 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, he said.

Regarding concerns over the planned coal-fired Shenao Power Plant aggravating air pollution in the north, Lai said that the output capacity of the two supercritical steam generators at the planned site has been cut from 800,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 600,000kWh each.

More than one-third of its operational costs would go into advanced depolluting devices, cutting the plant’s original projected emissions by 70 percent, he added.

The new Shenao plant would not be a burden to northern Taiwan’s air quality, Lai said.

State-run Taiwan Power Co has assembled a team to investigate the tripping of the nuclear reactor, which was triggered by the unit’s safety mechanism, Lai said.

Mechanics from the company that made the reactor are working with the investigation team and a team of specialists in a “painstaking” probe into the cause of the tripping, he said.

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