Building a nuclear-free environment remains the government’s ultimate goal, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, while insisting that the controversial construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), should be resolved via a national referendum.
“The government’s consistent stance on nuclear power issues is to communicate with the people and listen to different voices. We hope that people can obtain all the information they need and understand their responsibilities before casting their votes in the referendum,” he said while meeting with US-based electrical power expert Chen Mo-shing (陳謨星) in the Presidential Office.
Chen has warned that the price of nuclear power in Taiwan has been greatly underestimated and the government’s claim that electricity prices would rise if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant did not go into operation was “a lie.”
The Ma administration has said that the electricity production per megawatt-hour at the nation’s three operational nuclear power plants costs under NT$1 and that it would cost less than NT$2 at the fourth plant.
Ma yesterday said the government would work to build a nuclear-free homeland, and the key issue is how to reach the goal without limiting the use of electricity or raising electricity prices unreasonably.
The nation is divided as to whether nuclear power should be used, and international nuclear power experts also shared different views, he said.
City University of Hong Kong president Way Kuo (郭位), who was invited by the Presidential Office last week to give a speech on the development of nuclear power, for example, said that while nuclear power sources accounted for 13 percent of energy globally, coal-fired power, which is responsible for 40 percent of global energy, is the most dangerous energy source, because more than 100,000 deaths occur every year due to mining accidents.
“We invite different experts to share their opinions with us and through debates on nuclear power, we hope the people would understand the choices of alternative energies for us, and the price we need to pay to build a nuclear-free homeland,” Ma said.
In related news, the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee is slated to review a referendum proposal tomorrow that was initiated by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).
The proposed referendum, endorsed by more than 51,000 New Taipei City (新北市) residents, asks the question: “Do you agree that fuel rods should be placed in the reactors at Taiwan Power Co’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City?”
It has passed a review by the city’s referendum review committee, but still requires the approval of the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee.
- Additional reporting by Chiu Yen-ling