The mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) is “outdated technology,” Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) said yesterday.
“We cannot solve the problems we will face 10 years from now with technology that is already two decades old,” Tseng told a clean energy forum organized by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院).
With nuclear energy off the table as an option, Tseng proposed other solutions to reduce carbon emissions.
“We hope that more commercial enterprises will join Taiwan Power Co (台電) in developing the green energy market,” Tseng said. “We will liberalize the market more so that the private sector can help reduce our carbon footprint.”
He also named reducing carbon emissions during the manufacturing process, promoting electric vehicles and carbon capture technologies as ways for Taiwan to reduce its carbon output.
The nation is on Aug. 28 to hold a referendum on whether to activate the nuclear power plant.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last month said that activating the plant would be both expensive and dangerous, and “absolutely not an option.”
Tsai’s energy transition plan looks to raise the proportion of liquified natural gas in the nation’s energy mix to 50 percent, while renewable energy would make up 20 percent, and nuclear power would have nearly zero contribution by 2025.
Nuclear power advocate Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), who initiated the referendum drive, said Tseng was wrong to describe the nuclear power plant as “outdated technology.”
“There are more than 90 nuclear reactors whose tenure has been expanded to 60 years in the US, some are planned to continue generating power for 80 or even 100 years,” Huang said. “Compared with those plants, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is very advanced.”
Huang voiced confidence that his referendum would pass on Aug. 28, saying nuclear power is a comparatively cheap source of energy that would also help Taiwan reduce carbon emissions.
He described an activation of the nuclear power plant as “the first key” to solving Taiwan’s looming power shortage, saying that it can start generating electricity in five years and provide about 10 percent of the nation’s energy mix.
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