Specialized nuke committee set to launch
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced yesterday that they will establish a specialized nuclear issue committee in an attempt to fixate more attention on the recent controversial nuclear plant.
March 8, 2013, 12:16 am TWN
MOEA Minister Chang Chiah-juch (張家祝) explained yesterday that the goal was to offer a more concentrated work on handling related information about the plant.
Officials said that Chang would commission the team, while team members would come from the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), Bureau of Energy (BOE) and State-owned Enterprise Commission (SEC). The team should launch next week at the earliest, officials said.
MOEA officials explained that the committee will collect all energy-related guideline information from Taipower, the BOE and SEC, related nuclear safety issues and suggestions from the media. This is to avoid each group from throwing out suggestions without hearing what other people are saying, they said.
Taiwan is headed toward the direction of phasing out nuclear power, but with no set time, Chang commented. While the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suggested that Taiwan should become a nuclear-free country by 2025, Chang stressed that it was an irrational promise that lacked responsibility.
To reach the goal of a nuclear-free country, Chang stressed, the government must map out practical plans for developing renewable energy, while preparing for a change in Taiwan's power generation structure.
For now, renewable energies are still considered too costly for the economy, Chang said. As Nuke 1,2 and 3 are set to retire by 2025, Chang stressed, Taiwan will rely less on nuclear power, with the provision of only one plant — Nuke 4.
“There will be no Nuke 5,” he said, which indicates that Taiwan will need to seek new energy sources in the near future, meaning that eventually Taiwan will become a nuclear-free country.
Environmental groups proposed the idea of an “escape circle” referendum yesterday, meaning that only citizens who live in regions located within 50 kilometers — Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, and Yilan — may participate in the referendum. This would avoid the problem of a higher threshold criterion for the usual referendum to be effective, the group said.
They also asked that the referendum be considered effective whether or not 50 percent of the eligible voters appeared for the vote. The reason, the groups believe, is that those who live near the plant experience a higher impact from the nuclear operations.
Meanwhile, industry and commerce groups have expressed that they agreed with postponing the referendum until the end of the year for a more thorough understanding and discussion of the plant.
Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) had remarked that it would be more suitable for the referendum to launch at the end of the year if absentee ballots were allowed.
Premier Backs Nuke Safety
In response to the nuclear safety issue, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) stressed that the government will immediately end the operations of a plant once a crisis happens. We would rather scrap a plant than allow our citizens any risk of danger, he commented, from a Cabinet release.
Although the anti-nuclear waves have been growing stronger recently, Jiang said that he believes the people's concept of the nuclear plant would change once the government presents transparent information and performs secure safety inspections over the plant.