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Nuke 4 must pass strict tests to start: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, known colloquially as “Nuke 4,” will not become operational until it passes the highest-level of security inspections.

Ma yesterday met with Andre-Claude Lacoste, former head of France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), at the Presidential Office, and said that the administration has asked the relevant authorities to conduct stricter tests of the above-mentioned plant.

The president said that nuclear safety and a gradual decrease on nuclear dependency were both key points of the administration's energy policy.

The nation will move toward a nuclear exit provided that three criteria are met, and those are to ensure that the nation's power supply remains nonrationed, that electricity prices remain reasonable, and that the nation can stay committed to lowering carbon emissions, Ma said.

Without nuclear safety, however, there will be no nuclear power, said the president, adding that after Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, Taiwan has conducted comprehensive inspections of its First, Second and Third Nuclear Power Plants, in order to make sure that they are not susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Ma went on to say that although Japan had vowed to suspend its nuclear power generation following the disaster, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office, there seems to have been a change of policy.

Abe announced last year that he will not continue the previous administration's policy of a full-on nuclear exit; therefore, Taiwan will continue to observe the development in Japan, Ma said.

Nuclear Safety Knows No National Boundaries: Ma

Ma said that the administration has compiled a report on Taiwan's nuclear plants in accordance with EU regulations, and in addition to the OECD, which will send inspectors to Taiwan, the government has also invited other experts.

The president explained that the report was conducted according to European Nuclear Safety Regulator Group (ENSREG) regulations.

The government holds the opinion of EU nations in high esteem, and it is currently in the process of arranging ENSREG members to come to Taiwan, Ma said.

In August 2012, the IAEA urged nations across the globe to share information regarding nuclear safety after the Fukushima disaster; however, the Republic of China lost its U.N. membership in 1971, and faces numerous limitations with regard to the sharing of such information, the president explained.

Ma said that Lacoste will chair next year's international nuclear safety meeting, and urged the former ASN head to help the Republic of China join IAEA meetings.

The president went on to say that nuclear safety does not have national boundaries, and that the world needs to cooperate and share information for the sake of absolute safety.

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