President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended his administration’s efforts to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants, citing major precautionary measures at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) that include destroying the plant if necessary to prevent a nuclear disaster.
Ma, during a meeting with a group of Japanese academics and engineers in the Presidential Office, said the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has prompted Taiwan to examine the reasons behind the disaster and enhance the safety measures at its plants.
At the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Ma said a system was established to destroy the plant if a disaster is about to happen.
“We can destroy the whole plant to avoid radiation leaks if the situation is about to go out of control. We firmly believe that no nuclear power should exist without nuclear safety,” he said.
Ma said that such a measure, which could be completed in 46 minutes, showed the government’s dedication to strengthening safety measures at nuclear power plants, as it continues its efforts to steadily reduce the use of nuclear power and eventually build a nuclear-free homeland.
Of the nation’s electricity supply, 40 percent comes from fossil fuels, 30 percent from natural gas and 18.5 percent from nuclear power. The rest is supplied by alternative energy sources.
Japan and Taiwan share the problem that most of their energy resources are imported, and the two nations cannot give up any energy resource, he said.
The construction of the plant has sparked waves of protests from anti-nuclear activists. The Ma administration has been pushing for the continued construction of the plant, while promising that the government would allow the public to decide via a referendum whether the construction should continue.