Taiwan votes to retain nuclear

30 November 2018

Taiwan’s Economy Minister Shen Jong-chin will within two months propose a new energy policy based on energy efficiency, green power and nuclear power, the Central News Agency reported on 24 November.

Following a referendum last weekend in which the public voted to scrap Taiwan's nuclear phase-out policy, Shen said he will ask state-owned Taiwan Power Corporation to evaluate postponing the decommissioning of the Kuosheng and Maanshan NPPs. Taiwanese voters decisively rejected the government’s phase-out of nuclear power.

Referendum 16, which asked: “Do you agree to repeal Article 95 paragraph 1 of The Electricity Act: “The nuclear-energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025?” passed on Saturday with a participation rate of approximately 55 percent of 19.7 million eligible voters, according to Central Election Commission data. A Trend Survey Research poll commissioned by pro-nuclear activists before the vote found that one of the strongest arguments for nuclear was, “Solar and wind are not stable, and are expensive,” attracting 71% agreement.

Following the referendum, Taiwan Premier William Lai’s responses were unclear about government's intentions.

Initial statements from the government suggested that, despite the outcome of this referendum, energy policy will likely remain unchanged. Spokesperson for the Executive Yuan Kolas said that although the paragraph of the Electricity Act committing to phasing out nuclear power will be removed within three days, as required under the referendum law, the government will persist with its goal of making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025.  Moreover, it is not possible to postpone the phase-out of the existing three nuclear plants for legal reasons, she said.

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