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Amid criticism, energy authority defends need for fourth nuke plant
Central News Agency
2014-03-04 11:14 PM
Taipei, March 4 (CNA) With activists planning to take to the streets nationwide this weekend to push for an end to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project, the director-general of the Energy Bureau on Tuesday moved to defend the necessity of finishing and turning on the new plant. Wang Yunn-ming argued that the nearly-complete plant, situated in a coastal area in northern Taiwan, is important not just for meeting expected growth in demand for electricity, but must also make up for an anticipated supply gap when aging power generating stations are decommissioned. "Commercial runs of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant are indeed necessary," he said at a press conference in which he also dismissed a Liberty Times report that his bureau indicated "there will be no lack of electricity" even if the plant is never completed. The Liberty Times quoted the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, an anti-nuclear group, which crunched the numbers from an Energy Bureau report that showed the average annual growth of electricity consumption in Taiwan grew 3.88 percent each year 1996-2012. From 2013-2030, it predicted the growth rate will drop to just 1.41 percent. The Action Alliance determined that the numbers mean there will be no risk of an electricity shortage even if the fourth plant is scrapped and the other three nuclear plants around Taiwan are decommissioned on schedule. But Wang's bureau does not agree with the conclusion. Wang said the conditions forecast in the bureau's report were based on the assumption that people and businesses will be subjected to compulsory energy-saving measures. The belt-tightening would require companies to purchase electricity-saving equipment and the public to swap electronics for energy-saving replacements, while industrial electricity consumption would also be restricted. Even if the government "tries everything it can," the electricity consumption growth can only be brought down to 1.40 percent at the lowest, he said. In reality, however, it is doubtful that such compulsory measures can be implemented, he added. Calling nuclear power a stable source of electricity, Wang criticized the Action Alliance's math as overly simplistic. Anti-nuclear protesters around Taiwan are planned for March 8 in the hopes of convincing the government to scrap the new plant and commit a "nuclear-free homeland." (By Huang Chiao-wen and Elizabeth Hsu)
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