Exit from nuclear to factor in economic concerns: Ma
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China PostPresident Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that 98 percent of Taiwan's energy is imported, and under the circumstances energy safety equates to national safety; therefore, all possible sources of energy must be considered.
October 25, 2013, 12:27 am TWN
Ma made the comments during a meeting with foreign experts on radioactive waste disposal at the Presidential Office. The experts, including Sweden's Hans Forsstrom and Finland's Timo Aikas, were invited by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) to attend a waste disposal forum in Taiwan.
The president said that when he took office in 2008, he announced the administration's guidelines for sustainable energy, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2025 to levels recorded in 2000, and to halve that amount by 2050.
The administration hopes to increase energy efficiency, develop low-carbon power and diversify the nation's sources of energy, Ma added.
Nuclear power accounted for 18.4 percent of the nation's electricity generation last year, the president said.
“Taiwan needs to develop low-carbon power, and we will do our utmost (to achieve that goal). But we cannot easily abandon any possible source of energy,” Ma said.
After the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in 2011, nations across the globe began reviewing their nuclear policies actively, Ma said, adding that Taiwan also declared a new energy policy in November that year, aiming to maintain reasonable electricity prices while also ensuring that electricity isn't rationed and that the island stay committed to its international pledge of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Under these three principles, the government plans to make a gradual nuclear exit, Ma added.
“Establishing a nuclear-free country is a goal clearly stipulated in our Basic Environment Act,” the president said, adding, however, that before the nation can achieve this goal, it needs to find a stable source of alternative energy.
The president said that although there are different opinions regarding the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the administration still has to deal with waste produced by the three other plants.
“The success of Sweden and Finland is something that we very much hope to learn from,” Ma said.
Sweden is a country that places a great of emphasis on green, renewable energy, and in 1980 the nation held a referendum on its nuclear policies, deciding to discontinue the construction of nuclear power plants, the president said.
In 2012, however, nuclear energy still accounted for 45 percent of Sweden's electricity generation, Ma added.
The president said that he recently spoke to experts from Sweden, who told him that they had considerable success in communicating with the public about striking balances.
They were successful in communicating to the public the fact that their nation's current policy not only fulfills economic development needs but also ensures nuclear safety, Ma said.
The president added that he hopes experts from both Taiwan and Sweden can share their experiences with renewable energy and nuclear energy.