Tue, Mar 12, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Lee Yuan-tseh pushes nuclear phase-out

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan yesterday places flowers and says a prayer for victims on the eighth anniversary of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Local industries should upgrade their production techniques to curb carbon emissions, and the nation should phase out nuclear power to avoid leaving more nuclear waste to future generations, former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) told an energy conference in Taipei.

The conference was hosted by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) and other anti-nuclear groups, following another energy forum on Sunday organized by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) that called for maintaining nuclear power.

Advocates of nuclear power have gained more momentum after most people voted in favor of abolishing the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy in a referendum on Nov. 24 last year.

Attendees — including Democratic Progressive Party Legislator-at-large Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) and New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) — first prayed for victims of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster on March 11, 2011.

Phasing out nuclear power is not only a security concern, but would also curb nuclear waste, said Lee, Taiwan’s first Nobel laureate in chemistry in 1986, adding that the older generation should not leave nuclear waste to future generations for their own convenience.

The nation needs to develop small-scale renewable energy generation systems to curb fossil fuel pollution and global warming, he said.

The global community might start tracking companies’ carbon footprints in two or three years, so local firms should start cutting their use of fossil fuels, he said, reiterating his suggestion that the government implement a carbon tax to curtail emissions.

The TEPU is working on two referendum proposals, including one recommending that the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant compound be converted into a site for renewable power research and development, union founding chairman Shih Shin-min (施信民) said.

The second proposal asks: “Do you agree that any construction or extended operation plans for nuclear power plants can only begin after they are approved by local referendum voters within the 50km-radius of the plants?”

The proposals are aimed at countering two referendum proposals by nuclear power advocates that seek to continue construction of the mothballed plant and to extend the permits of three operational nuclear power plants, Shih said.

The annual parade against nuclear power is scheduled for April 27, which would focus on renewable power development, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said.

Separately, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook that the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster pushed Taiwanese to seriously consider energy issues and the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration to mothball the plant.

While people hold varied views about when the nuclear-free homeland policy should be achieved, it is the nation’s common goal to ensure that the next generation has safe power generation, Tsai wrote.

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