25 Oct (NucNet): Taiwan’s electoral commission has approved a November 2018 referendum on the government’s existing policy to phase out commercial nuclear energy by 2025.
The referendum, on 23 November, was initially turned down by the government-run commission, which said organisers lacked the 281,745 valid signatures needed.
The pro-nuclear campaigners went to court, which ruled last week that the electoral commission must count a second batch of 23,251 signatures. After the commission did so, it qualified the initiative for the ballot.
The referendum will ask voters whether they agree with a section of the Electricity Act, which stipulates that all nuclear energy-based power-generating facilities shall cease operations by 2025.
Proposers of the referendum argue that nuclear energy is a safe, clean source of electricity that can allow time for the development of other sources of green energy without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.
Taiwan has four commercially operational nuclear power reactors at two sites – Kuosheng and Maanshan. According to data by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear power provided about 9% of Taiwan’s electricity output in 2017.
Chinshan, Taiwan’s third nuclear power station, has two units which were permanently shut down earlier this month, according to the IAEA.
Construction of a fourth nuclear power station at Lungmen was suspended following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan. Two of four planned units were almost completed at the time the project was discontinued.