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Taiwan legislators consider extending life of nuclear power plants

Legislators discussed amendments that would make it easier to extend the life of nuclear plants on Wednesday (July 10), amid opposition from the ruling party and environmental activists.

A meeting to discuss the amendments was held in the legislature on Wednesday morning, where five draft proposals were put forward by Kuomintang (KMT) legislators. Proponents of amending the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act said extending the life of nuclear power plants is needed to ensure Taiwan’s energy security.

The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) also said it supports amending the law, per UDN. TPP Legislator Chang Chi-kai (張啓楷) said his party believes phasing out nuclear power is unrealistic, and that it remains unclear how Taiwan will deal with a reduced power supply if nuclear plants are decommissioned.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) said she will “oppose the changes to the end,” per SET News. She said the public needs to be fully informed about the complexity of operating the plants and the disposal of waste before any changes are made.

The ruling DPP generally opposes the use of nuclear energy, and has in the past stated a goal of achieving a nuclear-free Taiwan by 2025. However, while campaigning for the presidency Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said the plants could be kept as a backup for emergencies.

Environmental groups have also come out in opposition to the amendments, gathering outside the legislature on Tuesday afternoon in protest. Among them was the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform (NNAAP) (全國廢核行動平台), which said the proposed amendments do not consider safety concerns posed by older nuclear power plants, per PTS.

The NNAAP said the use of older nuclear plants should not be extended if safety concerns are not addressed. The group also said the costs of extending service should be made public, and public consultations should be held.

Golden Melody Award-winning musician Panai Kusui (巴奈·庫穗) joined the protest, where she performed for the crowd of about 1,000 people. Panai said there is no balance in the way Taiwan uses resources and creates pollution, and asked legislators to do what is right for the environment.

Panai Kusui performs outside the legislature on Wednesday. (CNA photo)

Source: Taiwan News