Former President Ma to host energy conference in March

2019/02/18 20:21:22 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺, center)

Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺, center)

Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) A power and energy conference is set to be held next month to discuss how Taiwan can ensure an adequate supply of electricity in the future, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation said at a press conference Monday.

The event will be held on March 10, a day before the eighth anniversary of a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan that triggered a meltdown in several reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The conference will invite academics and members of the private sector to discuss Taiwan's energy solutions, to be presented as suggestions to the current administration and new government to be elected in 2020, said foundation CEO Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑).

Hsiao said the event will be hosted by former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Fair Winds Foundation Chairman Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), who was premier in 2014, when the Ma administration mothballed the unfinished fourth nuclear power plant amid public concerns over nuclear safety.

Ma, who has opposed President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) 2025 non-nuclear homeland goal, believes Taiwan should continue to use nuclear power until the country's renewable energy sector matures.

Ma also supported the national referendum held last November to abolish Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act, which mandated that nuclear power plants be phased out in Taiwan by 2025. The referendum passed by a 60-40 margin.

The foundation may propose a new referendum in the future calling for the fourth nuclear power plant project to be restarted and for postponing the decommissioning deadline of the country's three active nuclear plants, Hsiao said.

Even after the Fukushima disaster, Japan did not give up on the use of nuclear power, Hsiao said, and he argued that as long as the government focuses on developing a balanced energy supply, nuclear energy will remain beneficial to Taiwan's economic development.

Jiang, who was also at the press event, said he hoped that the government can face up to the country's power supply issue, whether by strengthening existing power facilities or considering the continuation of nuclear power.

He expressed regret that the Ministry of Economic Affairs has decided to decommission all three existing nuclear power plants on schedule by 2025, despite public opinion clearly indicating support for considering the extended use of nuclear power as seen in the Nov. 24 referendum.

Earlier Monday, Economic Affairs Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) reaffirmed the government's commitment to honor the decommissioning deadlines of the three nuclear power plants.

The problem, Shen said, was not that the government does not want to use nuclear energy, but that "it cannot be used" because of the nuclear waste issue.

He said that if the country wants to continue using nuclear energy, the government needs to first come up with a solution for storing nuclear waste.

The storage pools at the three active nuclear power plants are full or close to full, and there has been public opposition to build permanent waste storage facilities wherever it has been suggested they be built.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Yu Hsiang and Ko Lin)
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