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Work on nuclear plant will continue during referendum: minister

2013/02/25 22:55:00

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Construction of the country's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant won't stop while a referendum is being held on whether to discontinue the project, Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch said Monday.

"The referendum and the construction work are two different things; they don't conflict with each other," said the minister, adding that what ought to be done should be done well.

He made the comments after the Executive Yuan announced earlier in the day that it will let the people decide through a referendum whether to complete the almost finished plant.

Noting that the two generating units of the plant are 95 percent and 92 percent completed respectively, Chang said the remaining works are simply tying up loose ends and should not be suspended pending the referendum.

To allow people to make an informed decision, the referendum is aimed at disclosing all information about the plant, including the worries raised by nuclear experts, the development of alternate energy to replace nuclear power, the impact that a lack of nuclear power will have on electricity prices, and whether it could prompt electricity rationing, said Chang.

Noting that not a single form of energy could replace nuclear power completely, the minister said natural gas is an expensive type of energy and can be stored only for seven days.

Taiwan will have to build more natural gas receiving stations and pipelines if it wants to bring in more natural gas, while the technology for using more solar power and wind power is immature, the minister said.

People should fully understand these facts before making their decision, the minister said.

He said the Taipower Company which is building the plant needs to change their tact in convincing people of the safety of the power plant, because the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan caused panic among local people.

(By Milly Lin and Maubo Chang)