DPP’s Tsai vows to have nuclear power generation stopped if elected in 2012

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff — Both former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and former Premier Su Tseng-chang voiced their opposition to nuclear power generation in Taiwan yesterday, one day after they registered to vie for the party’s candidacy in the 2012 presidential race.

Tsai said during a tea party with reporters yesterday afternoon that if she wins the 2012 presidential election she will not allow the commercial operation of Taiwan’s No. 4 nuclear power plant. In addition, she will stop the construction of the Kuokuang petrochemical complex in central Taiwan.

Tsai said that she would pursue the termination of operations at the three existing nuclear plants by the end of 2025. There are many ways to achieve this, Tsai added, including boosting the amount of renewable energies, improving the efficiency of thermal power plants, building power generation plants with natural gas as fuel, adjusting industrial structures, promoting energy conservation, and liberalizing power generation.

The DPP candidate stressed that terminating the commercial operation of the No.4 nuclear power plant won’t lead to a power supply shortage or undermine the development of local industries.

“During the eight years of rule by our party, Taiwan did not suffer a power shortage. And therefore we’re sure that most nationals will support our policy opposing the No. 4 nuclear power plant,” Tsai said. Tsai continued saying if she won the presidential race next year, she would also suspend the Kuokuang petrochemical complex project. “Such a complex is not necessary on the island, and can be set up directly in the Middle East, the oil production area. We don’t need high energy-consuming and pollution-causing industries in Taiwan.” Su Tseng-chang, in an interview with a local radio broadcasting station yesterday, also said that he will insist on the nuke-free policy, but would not recklessly terminate the No. 4 nuclear power plant.

Su said that if he wins the presidential race in 2012, he will adopt stricter criteria to evaluate whether the existing nuclear power plants can be phased out and whether the No. 4 nuclear power plant should be commercialized or not. Only a day earlier Chang Yung-fa, chairman of Evergreen Group, suggested the government abandon the development of nuclear power, since Taiwan is situated on a seismic belt, similar to Japan.

Chang was the first heavyweight entrepreneur to publicly oppose nuclear power in the wake of the massive Japanese earthquake. For all its emphasis on nuclear-power safety, Japan still could not cope with the impact of the earthquake. The Taiwanese government should seriously review its energy policy and develop alternative energies, Chang added.

Taiwan, said Chang, should develop hydraulic power, since it is a mountainous region and wind power can be developed in windy areas such as Hsinchu or Penghu. Thermal power is also a good choice, despite its higher cost.