Industry group urges keeping politics out of nuclear power debate
Central News Agency
2014-04-25 07:44 PM
Taipei, April 25 (CNA) A local industry group Friday bemoaned the way that debate over Taiwan's nearly completed fourth nuclear power plant has become a political issue, suggesting the issue should be based instead on economic principles. As a consumer of electricity, the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association said it hopes Taiwan Power Co. can offer safe, sufficient, stable and cheap power. The association said it is saddened that a matter of public policy has developed into a partisan issue.

An unnamed member of the association further questioned the appropriateness of adjusting plans for the nearly completed power plant because of opposition from a group of people he described as a "relative minority." The comments came after lawmakers of the ruling Kuomintang passed a resolution Thursday in support of a national referendum to decide whether the plant should enter service. The association member said if the power plant project is discontinued, extending the operations of existing nuclear power plants will become necessary to ensure a stable supply of energy. Meanwhile, Yeh Ming-feng, an adviser to the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said Taiwan will see an economic impact if the use of nuclear power is abolished. Even Japan's cabinet approved a plan to reinstate nuclear power earlier in the month because of economic pressure, despite still fresh memories of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima triggered by the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Yeh said. Yeh supported the idea of improving and extending the life of the three existing nuclear power plants to reduce the impact if the fourth plant is ultimately scrapped. The fourth nuclear power plant was expected to fill part of the gap in power generation when the country's three operating nuclear power plants are decommissioned between 2018 and 2025. The project has been repeatedly delayed since it was given a green light in 1999, in no small part due to political controversies. Construction on the plant was 93.74 percent complete at the end of March. (By Milly Lin and Kay Liu)

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