Following a debate over the title of a draft act to promote a nuclear-free homeland (非核家園推動法) at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators held a sudden motion and passed its version of the title.
While the meeting was held to deliberate about the content of the act, lawmakers spent about three hours arguing over the appropriate title. The Executive Yuan had proposed “energy safety and a nuclear-free homeland,” while the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union sought to exclude the term “energy safety,” and the People First Party suggested a “zero-nuclear homeland.”
Requested to speak at the meeting, Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) said the nation’s reliance on nuclear power to provide electricity was unavoidable as 98 percent of its energy sources were imports from other countries.
The convener of the meeting, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said if there are two goals, then the Cabinet should propose two bills for deliberation.
If the goal is to achieve a nuclear-free homeland, then energy safety should be removed from the title and discussed in the body of the bill in order to avoid a confusing title, Cheng said.
“Energy safety can only exist under the premise of a nuclear-free homeland,” DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said, adding that it is impossible to guarantee energy safety considering that international politics and economics are constantly changing, and the scope of energy safety is too large to be regulated by the proposed law.
DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said that nuclear power is not sustainable because the amount of uranium in the world is limited.
Reports have suggested that if energy efficiency in the business sector can be improved, 6 percent of the nation’s power demand could be reduced, which is about equal to the estimated power that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant could supply, Tien said.
Opposition legislators urged that the government to improve the energy supply mechanism and develop alternative sustainable energy, rather than continue to rely on nuclear power under the disguise of “energy safety.”
After Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) said that the KMT also hopes to achieve a nuclear-free homeland by 2055 (if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) goes into operation), DPP legislators expressed concern that the proposal would allow the three currently operating plants to extend operations beyond 2025.
At about 12:30pm several KMT legislators left the meeting and the remaining DPP legislators quickly raised a vote and passed their version of the bill’s title.
The DPP legislators then rebuffed protests by KMT legislators to re-visit the decision in the afternoon.
However, the KMT caucus said the title would be discussed further during negotiations after the bill leaves the committee.