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Government urged to face up to power shortage issue

2018/02/05 22:48:40

CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) Business leaders urged the government Monday to face up to Taiwan's potential electricity supply problems and asked it to provide a guarantee that such issues will not happen to help build confidence in investing in Taiwan.

Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰), chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce (全國商總), made the appeal after Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) applied on Monday to the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) for approval to restart the No. 2 nuclear reactor at the No. 2 nuclear power plant in New Taipei.

The reactor has been off line since May 2016, when it encountered a glitch in its electrical system during major maintenance. The last round of maintenance was completed in December 2017, and the glitch has apparently been solved.

The application will be submitted to the Legislature if it is approved by the AEC following a 30-day safety review.

If Taipower's request to restart the facility is approved, the reactor is expected to operate at full capacity of 985 megawatts (MW), which would represent about 3 percent of Taiwan's actual power generation.

"It is very dangerous" for Taiwan's power reserve margin to be only 1.5 percent in summer and 8 percent in winter, Lai said, and he asked the government to give a guarantee to all the people and businesses that power shortages will not happen.

Under such a premise, Lai argued that before the government puts in place its policy to make Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, it should make use of nuclear power as long as there are no safety issues, and even activate the fourth nuclear plant, which is now mothballed and has never been operated.

Lin Por-fong (林伯豐), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, said the government must take the power issue seriously and should continue using nuclear power if it wants to effectively improve Taiwan's air quality.

Now that Taipower has applied to restart the No. 2 reactor of the No. 2 nuclear power plant, Lin said, it is time for the government to figure out in which direction it wants to go.

(By Huang Ya-chuan and Flor Wang)