Proponents of nuclear energy launch petition to scrap ‘nuclear-free’ policy

‘KIND OF GREEN’::Nuclear power is less damaging to the environment and has lower costs than gas and coal-powered plants, one of its proponents said

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Feb 12, 2018 - Page 3

Proponents of nuclear power on Saturday initiated a referendum petition drive seeking to abolish the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy stipulated in the Electricity Act (電業法).

“The petition asks respondents: ‘Do you agree to abolish Article 95-1 of the act that stipulates all nuclear power facilities should cease operations before 2025?’” National Tsing Hua University engineering professor and Chung-Hwa Nuclear Society member Lee Min (李敏) wrote on Facebook.

The nation should continue using nuclear power to support its fledgling development of “green” energy, the petition said.

The government, with its goal of generating half the nation’s electricity from natural gas, 30 percent from coal-fired power and 20 percent from renewable sources by 2025, is rushing to natural gas terminals as well as solar and wind power facilities, but it ignores the financial and environmental costs of the hasty policy, Lee said yesterday by telephone.

The Cabinet has said it plans to restart the No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里), because it expects a shortage in the nation’s power supplies in June and July, he said.

The public should consider whether the nation should continue using nuclear energy, he said, adding that the decision whether to keep nuclear power plants would be decided after careful evaluation.

Nuclear power can be regarded as a kind of “green” energy, as it has less environmental impact and lower generation costs than coal and gas-fired power, Chinese Society of Medical Physics member and Kyoto University doctoral student Liao Yan-peng (廖彥朋), who launched the petition, said separately yesterday.

Many environmental groups expound on the risks of nuclear power, but they seldom address the casualties caused by accidents at natural gas facilities, Liao said, urging people to discuss nuclear issues with more scientific evidence.

Lee said he initiated the petition with like-minded academics and people working in the energy sector, but added that its discourse is open to change.

While their proposal for a referendum needs to obtain the approval of the Central Election Commission, they hope it can take place along with the local elections on Nov. 24, Lee said.

In related news, Taiwan Power Co is preparing for an environmental impact assessment to decommission the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), with the operation licenses of its two reactors due to expire on Dec. 5 this year and July 15 next year.