Several environmental groups on Tuesday rejected one of the arguments recently made by supporters of nuclear power, calling it an energy option that is not as popular worldwide as local nuclear advocates have said ahead of an upcoming referendum.
Nuclear energy’s share of gross electricity generation worldwide continues a slow but steady decline from a peak of 17.5 percent in 1996 to 10.1 percent last year, the Green Citizens’ Action Alliance said, citing a report jointly written by 12 researchers from different countries.
The report said that nuclear power generation declined last year, for the first time since 2012, by 104 terawatt-hours, or 3.9 percent.
The cost of utility-scale solar fell 90 percent and the cost of utility-scale wind fell 70 percent, but the cost of utility-scale nuclear rose 33 percent between 2009 and last year, the report said.
“Nuclear energy is getting marginalized in emerging electricity markets worldwide,” alliance researcher Chen Shih-ting (陳詩婷) told a news conference in Taipei, calling the referendum on resuming work at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant “misleading.”
Nuclear advocate Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), who initiated the referendum, earlier this month said that nuclear energy, like renewable energy, has received global recognition as a key power source that reduces carbon emissions from coal-fired power generation.
International group Greenpeace spoke out against the use of nuclear power, with local branch representative Ku Wei-mu (古偉牧) calling it “slow, expensive, troublesome and unreliable.”
Ku told a separate news conference in Taipei that out of 93 nuclear plant construction projects suspended over the past 50 years, construction resumed on only seven of them.
Construction on those seven plants averaged 118 months at an average cost of US$3 billion, he said, citing studies from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Nuclear Association.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups are to hold a march against nuclear energy on Saturday next week, ahead of the referendum on Dec. 18, Ku said.
Other non-governmental organizations in Taichung, including Housemakers’ United Foundation’s Taichung branch, Cosmopolitan Culture Action Taichung and the Medical Professionals’ Alliance in Taichung, have urged the country to continue on a path to becoming nuclear-free and voiced concern over the danger of nuclear power.
They also asked local officials to publicize their views on the issue of resuming work on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The Taichung City Government said that it would respect the “will of the people.”
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