Taiwan PM resolute in sticking to nuclear power plan

The Prime Minister of Taiwan, Jiang Yi-huah, says his country will forge ahead with plans to build a nuclear power plant, despite a vigorous opposition.

Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant is being seen as a necessity as the older plants still operating, are due to come off line gradually over the next decade.

The Prime Minister, said in a briefing late on Monday that the administration would not halt construction of the plant or change rules to make a referendum on the issue more likely.
There has been much suspicion of nuclear power in Taiwan following the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Last year saw a full scale brawl in the Taiwanese parliament over a vote on whether to allow the contentious fourth nuclear power plant to go ahead.

The government hopes to have the almost-complete nuclear plant, in northern New Taipei City, begin commercial operations by 2016.

Taiwan’s three current nuclear power facilities would have to serve longer if the fourth one does not start operating as planned, the economics ministry has said.

Taiwan’s first nuclear plant is set to be decommissioned between 2018-19, while the second is set to close between 2021-23.

Some 40 per cent of the island’s electricity is generated by burning coal, 30 per cent using natural gas and 18.4 per cent by nuclear power plants, according to the economics ministry.

Taiwan sits near the so-called ring of fire region of seismic activity around the Pacific Ocean.

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