Slamming a proposal by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to revive the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, opponents of nuclear power yesterday urged the government to expedite the nation’s transition to renewable energy.
Ma on Wednesday told the Chinese-language Apple Daily that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy of phasing out nuclear power facilities by 2025, which was written into the Electricity Act (電業法) last year, is a hasty decision that is impossible to achieve.
Nuclear power is sufficient, stable, cheap and clean, while renewable energy’s sole merit is clean power, Ma said, adding that the nation’s foreign investment has been declining due to an energy crisis.
The Tsai administration should consider reviving the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and extend the operations of the nation’s three existing nuclear power plants, he said.
Construction of the fourth power plant was suspended for three years by the Ma administration on July 1, 2015.
Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has decided to transport the plant’s 1,744 fuel rods back to the US supplier within three years to seek foreign buyers starting this month.
The state-run company in 2013 estimated that it would require another NT$47.8 billion (US$1.57 billion at the current exchange rate) to finish the plant’s construction, Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan consultant Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said yesterday.
Disposing of the plant’s assets soon is the right decision to prevent further losses, he added.
The nation’s power supply has indeed been tighter over the past two years, but with more new power generators and those under repair becoming operational this month, the operating reserve margin has stayed above 6 percent this month, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said.
The nation does not face a power shortage as some nuclear power proponents have claimed; rather, the operating reserve margin should reach 14.9 percent by 2025 and keep rising, even after all nuclear facilities have been phased out, Hung said, adding the estimates were based on Taipower data.
Ma is misleading the public, especially when he says that foreign investment in Taiwan is declining, publisher and former national policy adviser Rex How (郝明義) said.
Foreign direct investment totaled US$7.5 billion last year, the third highest in 10 years, better than during Ma’s time in office, he said.
The government should be more decisive in promoting energy transformation, instead of resorting to nuclear power, which would produce more nuclear waste that it is unable to handle, he added.
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