Fri, Dec 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet approves deadline repeal for nuclear-free plan

Staff writer, with CNA

The Executive Yuan, in accordance with the result of referendum No. 16, yesterday approved a proposal to abolish Paragraph 1, Article 95 of the Electricity Act (電業法), which calls for nuclear power to be phased out by 2025.

The repeal is to be brought before the Legislative Yuan for review, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said after a Cabinet meeting.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) said in the meeting that the government’s goal of creating a nuclear-free homeland remains unchanged, even though the 2025 deadline has been canceled, she added.

The referendum asked: “Do you agree that subparagraph 1, Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which reads: ‘Nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025,’ should be abolished?”

The policy was part of the platform on which President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ran in the 2016 elections.

In related news, a survey released on Wednesday showed that while 82.6 percent of Taiwanese are concerned with transforming the nation’s energy mix, most do not know its current makeup, with 43.6 percent mistakenly believing nuclear energy to be the main source of electricity.

Questioned about the main sources of the nation’s electricity, 32 percent correctly answered coal-fired power, which last year accounted for 46.8 percent of electricity generation, while nuclear sources provided only 8.3 percent.

The survey was conducted from June 23 to July 8 by National Taiwan University’s Risk Society and Policy Research Center to gauge public awareness of energy policies and support for energy transition.

Tsai aims for the nation’s electricity supply to be a mix of 50 percent natural gas, 30 percent coal and 20 percent renewables by 2025.

“The survey shows that the government needs to improve public understanding of energy issues to earn public support for its energy transition plan,” center executive director Chang Kuo-hui (張國暉) told a forum.

About 57 percent of respondents said they did not clearly know about the Tsai administration’s renewable target for 2025, while 40.7 percent said they were aware of the policy, Chang said.

The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents were willing to pay more for electricity to better protect the environment, lower the risks associated with nuclear power or reduce energy consumption.

Only 20 percent said they were against any increases in electricity prices under any circumstances.

Asked about willingness to pay more to support replacing nuclear power with renewable sources, 60.7 percent said they were willing, while 35.1 percent were opposed.

The results show that people are concerned about Taiwan’s energy transition, but their knowledge about related issues is not very accurate, the center said in a statement.

“We call upon the government to provide a clearer energy transition pathway and to engage in dialogue with society to enhance public trust in energy reform,” the statement said.

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