Tue, Nov 27, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet to examine options for nuclear power: William Lai

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that the Executive Yuan would respect the passage of a pro-nuclear power referendum on Saturday and start legal procedures, but added that the development of green energy would not be affected.

The referendum, one of 10 held alongside the nine-in-one elections, sought to repeal Article 95, Paragraph 1 of the Electricity Act (電業法), which stipulates that all nuclear power generating facilities should stop operations by 2025. The referendum passed with 5,895,560 votes in favor and 4,014,215 against.

The article is to be retracted on Monday next week, three days after the Central Election Commission officially announces the referendum results on Friday, Lai told a news conference at the Executive Yuan.

The Executive Yuan would send the repealed article to the legislure for review and the two branches would discuss whether energy-related regulations need to be adjusted, Lai said when asked whether the Cabinet’s “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy would change.

Offshore wind farms and green energy policies would not be affected, because the referendum did not address green energy development, he said.

Executive Yuan spokesperson Kolas Yotaka on Sunday said that permits for the nation’s three operational nuclear power plants are not likely to be extended due to a time limit, but Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), the referendum’s initiator, said that permit extension regulations are within the purview of the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) and can be adjusted at any time.

A proposal to extend a nuclear power generator’s 40-year permit must be proposed five to 15 years before expiry, AEC Deputy Minister Chiou Syh-tsong (邱賜聰) said yesterday, adding that the rules are meant to give the council sufficient time to assess a proposal’s safety plans and cannot be easily changed.

The deadlines for extending operations at the Jinshan and Guosheng nuclear power plants in New Taipei City’s Shihmen (石門) and Wanli (萬里) districts have already passed, Chiou said.

Operations at the Jinshan plant’s two reactors have been suspended and while decommissioning plans are going through an environmental impact assessment, they would remain suspended until they can be officially decommissioned, he said.

The permits for the Guosheng plant’s two reactors expire on Dec. 27, 2021, and March 14, 2023, while the plant’s supervisors — the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taiwan Power Co — must file a decommissioning plan for both by Dec. 27, he said.

Before its permit expires, Guosheng’s No. 1 reactor, which is being overhauled, might start operations after maintenance is finished and it passes a council inspection, Chiou said.

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