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Taiwan's Economics Minister Y.S. Shih: Nuke Power is Critical

2011/04/06 | By Ben Shen

Taipei, April 6, 2011 (CENS)--The still ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is pushing nuclear power generation onto the agenda in Taiwan, with economics minister Shih Yen-shiang noting nuclear power will be necessary in the next few decades without neglecting other alternative energies despite the massive investments.

Questioned by legislator Lee Ching-hua, Shih responded that the Taiwanese will be saddled with high cost if nuclear power is scrapped, citing examples as increasing carbon emissions from burning natural gas and coal to generate power, while over 90% of the energy consumed in Taiwan depends on imports whose prices fluctuate to cause volatile electricity prices, not to mention unreliable supplies of natural gas and coal.

If non-nuclear policy is to be implemented in Taiwan, the nation will have to consider other energy options carrying varying costs, with both social and economic costs having to be deliberated before final decisions are made. The economics ministry is doing its utmost to look for alternative energy options for when the No. 1, 2 and 3 nuclear power plants are eventually decommissioned without an operational No. 4 plant, now under construction.

The ministry forecasts that Taiwan faces a serious power shortfall in eight years when the proposed continuation of the No. 1, 2, and 3 power plants and the building of the No. 4 plant are scrapped.