Premier Jiang hopes for nuclear phase-out by 2055

By Ann Yu ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that if the country’s nuclear power plants stop operations after 40 years of use, Taiwan can look forward to being a non-nuclear country by 2055.

At an interpellation session yesterday, some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators requested that the Cabinet propose a set time for the end of nuclear power. Previously, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) insisted that it was unreasonable and illogical to give a set time for the end of nuclear power generation when Taiwan has not begun mapping out viable alternative energies.

The Cabinet approved draft laws for energy safety and an anti-nuclear country some weeks earlier, but there was no planned time to actually end nuclear generation.

The goal of the proposal was to make sure that Taiwan would rely less on nuclear power while better energy safety inspections would be implemented on Taiwan’s power generators.

According to Jiang, the Cabinet has asked the MOEA to map out future plans for Taiwan’s renewable energy and practical measures in reaching a non-nuclear home country, but an actual time has not been drafted.

But, the premier said, if an average nuclear plant runs for an estimated 40 years, 2055 should mark the end of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which would mean that Taiwan will completely phase out of nuclear power by then.

Jiang added that the ruling government will take the responsibility to clarify everything about Nuke 4, as well as understand the complete structure of the plant and how it will function. He mentioned that “another” party’s suggestions to reach a non-nuclear country by 2025 without mapping out the alternatives for power generation were very irresponsible and should be avoided. The DPP previously suggested that Taiwan phase out nuclear power by 2025.

Lopsided Opinions Jiang mentioned at the Legislative Yuan yesterday that currently opinions over the termination or launch of Nuke 4 have turned out to be lopsided. Yet, those asking for continued construction and eventual operation of Nuke 4 aren’t unreasonable, Jiang said. He said that hopefully before the referendum, the people will have a more complete understanding of Nuke 4.

At an interpellation session yesterday, DPP Legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) spoke of the renewable energies used in Taiwan. According to Su, Taiwan will need 6,000 wind turbines to generate the same amount of power that one nuclear plant generates annually. “For now, Taiwan only has 300 wind turbines, not to mention that one turbine costs NT$100 million,” Su said.

Jiang thanked the legislator for his acknowledgment, adding that despite differing opinions on how to achieve a nuclear-free nation, each party has the same goal in mind in the end. “We are all thinking about the next generation and the future environment or society that they’ll live in, with or without nuclear power,” Jiang said.

The controversial Nuke 4 has been a long-debated issue in Taiwan for several decades. To end things once and for all, Jiang boldly proposed a referendum earlier this month to decide the fate of Nuke 4. The proposal drew polarized comments, with some anti-nuke activists claiming that such a sensitive issue should not be decided with a referendum.

An anti-nuke demonstration that drew 200,000 participants nationwide was held last Sunday, demanding the government scrap the entire nuke project immediately.