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Taipower withholds returning fuel rods pending new energy policy

2018/12/03 21:13:48

CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) will hold off returning to the United States unused fuel rods from the mothballed fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei until a decision on whether to alter the nation's energy transition map has been reached, an official said Monday.

A Nov. 24 referendum vote that rejected the Democratic Progressive Party's goal of phasing out nuclear energy by 2025 has forced the government to review its energy transition plan, with Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) promising to put forth a new policy in two months.

Until the ministry presents a new policy, Taipower has no plans to ship out the unused rods, Chung Bin-li (鍾炳利), president of the state-owned company, said when asked by opposition Kuomintang lawmakers at a meeting of the Legislature's Economics Committee.

The government has targeted a mix of 50 percent natural gas, 30 percent coal and 20 percent renewables for its electricity supply by 2025 after nuclear power is phased out.

A legislative resolution made in January requires that all of the 1,744 unused fuel rod bundles purchased to operate the power plant be shipped back to the U.S. by 2020.

Taipower sent a total of 200 unused fuel rod bundles to the U.S. in two batches in July and September, according to media reports.

(By Liao Yu-yang and Shih Hsiu-chuan)