Provision on halting nuclear power plants removed

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Wed, May 08, 2019 - Page 3

The Legislative Yuan yesterday abolished a provision in Article 95 of the Electricity Act (電業法) stipulating that all nuclear energy generation facilities must stop operations before 2025.

The amendment was passed in compliance with the result of last year’s Referendum No. 16, which asked: “Do you agree that subparagraph 1, Article 95 of the Electricity City, which reads: ‘Nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025,’ should be abolished?”

The referendum passed with 5.89 million “yes” votes and 4.01 million “no” votes.

The article now states that the government should set plans to move forward work on the final disposition of low-level nuclear waste, so as to deal with the low-level waste currently stored on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼).

The National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform said that the result of the referendum does not mean the public is not concerned about nuclear power and the global trend toward renewable energy shows that using nuclear energy is by no means the right path.

The referendum does not affect the government’s goal of achieving a nuclear-power free homeland, the group said in a statement.

Citing opposition by local governments and the problem of nuclear waste disposal, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) in January said that Taiwan would not extend the service life of its nuclear power plants.

He added that it would not finish the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, whose completion was blocked by popular opposition in 2014 and then mothballed.

Among Taiwan’s three active nuclear power plants, the first two are expected to be decommissioned by March 2023 and the third by May 2025.

Nuclear power supporters have argued that Taiwan should complete the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant or extend the service life of existing ones to safeguard against power shortages.

On March 19, they drafted a proposal for a new referendum question that would ask voters if they agree with completing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project and putting it into operation.

The proposal passed an initial screening and is awaiting verification of signatures by household registration offices.