Premier to resign if Nuke 4 work halted
By Ted Chen, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that he will tender his resignation, in order to take political responsibility, if the nation votes to halt the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant's construction.
March 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The decision to let a referendum determine the fate of Nuke 4 was ultimately approved by President Ma Ying-jeou, as it is essential to include the people's opinion in this heavily contested issue, said Jiang.
However, the consequences of Taipower's (台電) going bankrupt, as a result of a construction halt, will likewise be levied on the people, said Jiang, adding that his part in taking responsibility would mean his resignation.
The recent hikes in the price of electricity last April and this October were initiated to reflect the realities of international developments, and illustrates the critical need to have a fourth nuclear plant, said Jiang. In addition, if Nuke 4's construction is halted, Taiwan's capacity to generate adequate energy may be threatened in the near future, as the first and second nuclear plant go offline at the end of their respective lifecycles, added Jiang.
Nuke 4 Impact on Electricity Prices
Nuke 4 will have a tangible impact on the price of electricity, but the degree of the effect needs to be determined by Taipower's assessment, said Jiang, while answering legislators' questions.
The price of electricity is determined by the price of materials, which make up 80 to 84 percent of the total cost of energy production, said Economic Minister Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) in support of the premier, while indicating that Nuke 4 will be able to supply electricity at under NT$2 per kWh (一度電), which is vastly cheaper than alternative energy sources such as natural gas.
Jiang's assertion is in stark contradiction with Taipower, which voiced strong protest of the premier's comments yesterday, stating that the price hikes cannot be attributed to Nuke 4, and that they are in fact a result of years of price-freezes as mandated by policy.
A number of lawmakers expressed shock over Taipower's statement, as they had supported Nuke 4's construction because they were led to believe that nuclear power was an economical energy source, while asserting that Taipower had reneged on their previous claim that Nuke 4 is essential for stabilizing the price of electricity in Taiwan.
“If Nuke 4 has no significant impact on the price of electricity, would the government please tell the people why it is still needed?” asked an opposition lawmaker.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) speaks at the Legislature, yesterday. Jiang said that the question of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant plays an important role in ensuring a sufficient ...