An article published by the Liberty Times on Thursday reported that Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate in the legislative by-election in Taipei’s third electoral district, has proposed that the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County not be decommissioned.
Environmental organizations criticized Wang’s proposal as being “legally baseless and practically infeasible,” to which she has yet to respond.
Instead, she asked her rival in the by-election, the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Enoch Wu (吳怡農), to answer the question, and invited him to a public policy debate.
Wu said that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) had already deemed Wang’s proposal unrealistic and it is “highly irresponsible” to discuss national energy plans by striking a bargain.
Wu added that the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union had also released a statement opposing Wang’s proposal.
While Wang advocates keeping the nation’s nuclear power plants operational, the union believes that the goal should be to achieve a nuclear-free homeland.
Without responding to the union, Wang wished to hear Wu’s opinions on public policy.
Spent nuclear fuel rods at the Guosheng and the Ma-anshan plants are high-level radioactive waste that cannot be processed or safely disposed of in Taiwan.
The spent fuel rods are kept in the power plants’ spent fuel pools.
The dry-cask storage method was once employed in an attempt to dispose of the radioactive waste, but a long-term solution to the issue has never been developed.
If the Guosheng and the Ma-anshan plants continue to operate, how can the nation take care of high-level radioactive waste?
Where would the used fuel rods be stored?
This is an extremely serious problem, and all parties involved should think about it seriously.
Politicians should not appropriate the issue to win votes. If radioactive waste is not handled carefully, future generations would pay the price.
Former US president Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
People in Taiwan should take heed of and reflect upon Lincoln’s words, especially Taiwanese politicians.
Whether the Guosheng and the Ma-anshan plants should be decommissioned is a highly technical issue requiring scientific expertise.
It is not necessarily a problem concerning laws and politics, nor is it public policy open to debate. The candidates for a legislative by-election need not concern themselves with it.
A candidate’s irresponsible proposal is likely a trick to win votes, which is nothing more than fraud.
Candidates should not toy with the issue of nuclear power plants and radioactive waste, while voters should be sensible, smart and alert.
Chen Yi-nan is an arbitrator.
Translated by Yi-hung Liu
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