Taiwan on right track to phase out nuclear power: German envoy

10/28/2018 06:03 PM
Thomas Prinz, director general of German Institute Taipei
Thomas Prinz, director general of German Institute Taipei

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) Taiwan's government is on the right track to install more capacity for renewable energy as it moves toward phasing out nuclear power by 2025, Germany's new top envoy to Taiwan told CNA during a recent interview.

During an interview conducted on Wednesday, Thomas Prinz, the new director general of German Institute Taipei, told CNA that based on his understanding, the Taiwan government's plan to substitute nuclear energy is "very realistic and can be achieved."

The German government decided to close down all the country's nuclear power stations in the wake of the Fukushima accident in Japan on March 11, 2011, when the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was hit by a tsunami after a magnitude 9 earthquake knocked out power to its cooling systems sending its reactors into meltdown.

"However, it is not only the decommissioning which is interesting, when you shut down nuke plants you have to find other sources of energy. That is where your government is so far on the right track to install more capacity for renewable energy," he added.

Saying that Germany was the first country in the world to embrace renewable energy and seek to shut down fossil fuel energy, Prinz said 36 percent of energy in Germany is now generated by renewable sources.

"So we have certain experience and that opens up a lot of possibilities for cooperation with the Taiwanese government," he added.

Prinz related how in the 1980s he took part in anti-nuclear demonstrations in West Germany and said he personally thinks such energy sources are extremely risky especially in a densely populated country, like Germany.

"Technicians and engineers always tell us it is safe, but as we saw in a country like Japan, which is a high tech country, with high tech engineers, it is not safe,"

President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration has set itself the goal of phasing out nuclear energy in Taiwan by 2025. An amendment to the Electricity Act was approved by the Legislative Yuan on Jan. 11, 2017 requiring all nuclear power operations to end by 2025.

Meanwhile, Prinz said Germany has set a goal of reaching 65 percent of power generation by renewables in 2030.

However, he also noted that Germany faces challenges, as the original idea of cutting CO2 emissions will probably not be reached on time with the decommissioning of the nuclear power plants.

The country will now be forced to rely on coal and fossil fuel based power plants for longer than expected before green energy sources can take their place, he added.

(By Joseph Yeh)


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