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President touts safety of nuclear power plants
Central News Agency
2013-06-25 07:55 PM
Taipei, June 25 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou touted the safety of Taiwan's nuclear power plants Tuesday, saying that there are emergency measures to prevent a disaster from happening even if they cause a power plant to be written off. Taiwan is more concerned about Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster than other countries, Ma told a group of Japanese experts at a forum on the catastrophe resulting from the massive tsumamis and earthquake in March 2011. After the disaster, Taiwan improved its fortifications against tsunamis at the nearly completed fourth nuclear plant in New Taipei and has in store a tested measure to pernmamently shut down nuclear reactors in 46 minutes to ensure zero chance of atomic disasters, Ma said at the forum in Taipei. "We'd rather sacrifice our nuclear plants than experience any nuclear disasters," he said. The president highlighted the merits of the fourth nuclear plant, the reactors of which will be cooled by electrical pumps and non-electrical water systems. The latter, located 105 meters above ground, has 48,000 metric tons of water in reserve and can pour water into reactors simply by gravity without the need for electricity, Ma said. The president drew attention to the similarities between Taiwan and Japan in their energy situations and the challenges of nuclear safety. Taiwan is like Japan in that it lacks home-grown sources of energy and relies on imports to cover over 98 percent of its energy needs, Ma said. Moreover, both Taiwan's and Japan's grids are isolated, which means they have no way of buying electricity from other countries, he went on. Lastly, both countries are situated on the edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which renders them prone to earthquakes and makes it difficult to keep their nuclear plants safe, Ma said. The government is making great efforts to ensure that its energy source portfolio is diverse and is working to cut its dependency on energy imports, he said. Taiwan is currently 40 percent powered by coal, 30 percent by natural gas and 18.5 percent by nuclear power, and relies on renewable energy to cover the rest of its electricity demands, Ma said. (By Kelven Huang, Scully Hsiao and Jay Chen)
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