Taipei-After Premier Lin Chuan (??) suggested that an idle nuclear reactor could be reactivated if necessary, a Cabinet spokesman clarified Monday that the reactor would only be used as a last resort to maintain an adequate supply of power.
"Unless there is no other way to keep power from running short, there are no safety concerns, and society agrees to reactivate the idle nuclear reactors, the reactors at the first and second nuclear power plants will not be restarted," Hsu Kuo-yung (???) said.
Hsu was responding to CNA questions about Lin's remarks in an interview with the Liberty Times published Monday that if people were worried about electricity shortages, there is a reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei that is on stand-by.
Though the reactor is not currently counted among Taiwan's operating power reserves, it could be used if a predictable shortage of power looms, Lin said.
He described the measure as a last resort and asked the business community to have faith in the availability of power in the future.
Taiwan currently has three aging nuclear power plants with a total of six reactors. At one point in June, only one of them -- the No. 1 reactor at the third nuclear power plant in southern Taiwan -- was operating.
As much as the government said it opposes nuclear power, state-run utility Taiwan Power Co. nonetheless got the go-ahead in June and July to restart two other reactors, one each at the second and third nuclear power plants, to ensure adequate power during the summer.
Those two reactors had been down for maintenance and repairs.
But authorities have not been open to reactivating either of the reactors at the first nuclear plant, which are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2018 and 2019, or the idle reactor at the second nuclear plant, a decision questioned by the business community after Taiwan suffered a major outage on Aug. 15.
Lin also stressed in the interview that the government will not delay the schedule to decommission the three nuclear power plants -- to be completed by 2025 -- or open the nearly completed fourth nuclear power plant, which has been mothballed since 2014 amid anti-nuclear protests.
But the government will review its plan on how the country will transition to a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, Lin said, and base it on Taipower's suggestion that there be an operating reserve margin of at least 7.2 percent of total power generation at peak consumption periods.
According to Taipower data, the three active nuclear reactors in Taiwan contributed 2,839.5 megawatts of electricity, or 8.6 percent of the total, on Monday.
To be able to become a nuclear-free home by 2025, the country has to increase the amount of electricity generated by liquefied natural gas to 50 percent of the total, with renewable energy accounting for another 20 percent and coal 30 percent, Lin said.
The premier also expressed confidence in wind power, which he expects will generate one gigawatt of power in 2021 and at least 3.5-4 GW by 2025.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel