Returning to nuclear energy 'specious,' 'outworn': president

2018/08/02 17:30:02 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Image taken from Pixabay

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) rebuffed Thursday the argument that Taiwan should continue to use nuclear energy until the renewable energy industry matures, saying that Taiwan will not face power shortages after it goes nuclear-free by 2025.

Recently, some supporters of nuclear power have expressed doubt as to whether renewable energy will become a viable alternative source of energy and have advocated the continued use of nuclear energy, Tsai said.

Addressing an international forum on new energy, she described that argument as "specious" and "outworn" compared to advanced concepts in energy development.

Tsai's remarks came two days after former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) urged the public to support two referendum petitions that seek to reject Tsai's policy of decommissioning all Taiwan's nuclear reactors by 2025.

"After 2025, when Taiwan has no nuclear-generated power in its energy-mix portfolio, we won't encounter any electricity supply problems," Tsai said.

Under the Tsai administration's energy transition plan, by 2025, 20 percent of the nation's power will be supplied by green energy, mainly based on solar and wind power, 30 percent by coal-fired power plants and 50 percent by liquefied natural gas-fired generators.

According to Taiwan Power Company, nuclear power in 2017 accounted for 9.3 percent of Taiwan's total electricity generation, compared with 39.2 percent from coal, 38.6 percent from natural gas, 4.8 percent from oil and 4.9 percent from renewables.

"The transition will make our energy system more advanced, resilient and efficient," Tsai said.

She said that increasing the proportion of renewable energy is not something that can be achieved at a stroke, but noted that Taiwan has made progress in recent years.

"Scorching weather has pushed electricity consumption to record levels recently, but the operating reserve margin has been maintained at about 6 percent, partly contributed by solar energy. A few years from now, wind power will be a main source of renewable energy," she went on.

Tsai said she is confident that Taiwan will succeed in its energy transition because the plan has brought many people on board to boost the development of green energy.

One of the two referendum proposals endorsed by Ma and Jiang ask whether the fourth nuclear power plant, which was mothballed in 2014 -- when they were in office -- amid concern among the public over nuclear safety, should be activated for commercial operations.

The other referendum proposal is about whether Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act, which will phase out nuclear power plants by 2025, should be abolished. The article was amended in January last year, about six months after Tsai took office.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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