Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) and Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) yesterday urged the government to replace nuclear power with liquified natural gas (LNG) and to halt the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) in a bid to prevent nuclear disaster.
Ting said it is a pity that although the legislature’s Economic Committee passed a resolution last week asking state-owned Taiwan Power Co (Taipower), which runs the country’s nuclear power plants, to convert the plant into one that runs on LNG, Ministry of Economic Affairs officials and Taipower have yet to carry out the resolution, and instead have told the public that the shift could raise electricity rates and lead to power rationing.
Ting said the ongoing construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant has required additional investment several times and total investment has amounted to about NT$280 billion (US$9.6 billion) so far. The project still requires an additional NT$56.3 billion, he said.
Saying that electricity generated from the plant would only account for 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity, Ting said that LNG-generated electricity would only cost NT$0.2 per kilowatt-hour more than the NT$2.4 per kilowatt hour price of nuclear generated electricity, and also free the public from possible nuclear disasters.
Chiu added that doubts remain over the safety of the plants.
The first, second and fourth nuclear plants are close not only to Taipei and New Taipei City — which are home to more than 5 million people — but also to geological faults and shorelines, which makes them vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, he said.
While Taipower has said it will seek a review by the World Association of Nuclear Operators before the fourth plant begins operating, Chiu said the credibility of the association has been called into question by the nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
Given the example of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident and the millions living near the three northern nuclear power plants, Chiu said “we should reconsider a withdrawal mechanism ... if the plant is unsafe, we should prioritize the safety of the public and quit the project.”
Ting said he will seek cross-party support to establish an ad hoc legislative committee to strengthen oversight of the country’s nuclear safety.
Additional reporting by CNA
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
GREATER NUMBER: The sorties might have been a response to the US and the EU expressing concern on Friday over China’s ‘provocations’ in the Taiwan Strait Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her