A number of academics have called for a halt to the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), saying the cost of electricity generation using nuclear energy is not as low as the government estimates and that paying the huge penalty for breach of contract in exchange for the plant’s suspension and the nation’s safety would be a “real bargain.”
Citing the controversy-plagued power plant’s initial feasibility report, National Taipei University economics professor Wang To-far (王塗發) said the report projected a construction budget of about NT$169.7 billion (US$5.8 billion) and forecast the cost of power generation by the plant, which was originally scheduled for completion in 2000, at NT$2.709 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), including a fixed cost of NT$1.908.
However, with construction expenditure reaching nearly NT$330 billion, assuming the plant went into operation in 2000, the fixed cost per kWh would rise to NT$3.71, raising its nuclear electricity generation cost to NT$4.51 per kWh, Wang said.
“If changes in the wholesale price index were factored in, the electricity generation cost for the plant could have further increased to NT$5.83 per kWh in 2011, which is about 8.83 times the number estimated by [state-run] Taipower [Taiwan Power Co],” he said.
Wang added that the figure was also higher than the average cost of about NT$3.3 per kWh for electricity generated by nuclear power plants in the US, based on calculations by the US Department of Energy.
“The [nuclear] power plant’s electricity generation cost could surge to NT$9 per kWh should costs for its maintenance, decommissioning and nuclear waste disposal also be included, which would be far higher than the costs for electricity generated using oil [NT$3.206 per kWh], coal [NT$3.89 per kWh] and gas [NT$5.756 per kWh],” Wang said.
National Taiwan University chemical engineering professor Shih Shin-min (施信民) said the site’s structural problems could never be solved by allocating more money.
“As the international community has yet to discover a proper approach to the disposal of nuclear waste, it is hard to estimate the cost of the potential impact of the plant on the marine ecosystem, the divisions and unrest it would cause in society, as well as potential damage in the event of a nuclear disaster,” said Shih, who is also the founder of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.
Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said that with people setting higher standards for nuclear safety, the cost of nuclear-powered electricity would inevitably be higher in the future due to the need to buy more safety equipment.
The underlying problem of the nation’s seemingly insufficient electricity supply does not lie in whether the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should go into operation, but in the problematic calculation mechanism for future electricity demand growth employed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Hung said.
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
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
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
‘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