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JAPAN QUAKE REMEMBERED: Asia-Pacific green parties call for safe energy

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Green parties in the Asia-Pacific region on Monday, the second anniversary of a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, issued a joint call for governments of the region to scrap nuclear power and develop green economies.

“The Greens call for learning from Fukushima and using this critical time to finally switch to a safe and affordable supply of electricity — renewable energy,” the parties said in a statement issued Monday.

“We believe that a nuclear-free homeland points to a future for green economy,” Pan Han-shen, a member of Green Party Taiwan, said at a press conference in Taipei.

Pan urged the Taiwan government to end its hefty electricity subsidies to the industrial sector and invest in renewable energy infrastructure such as smart grids and smart meters.

To achieve zero growth of energy consumption, the government should distinguish between peak and off-hour electricity rates and charge higher prices for uninterruptable power supply that is needed by users in areas such the industrial sector, Pan suggested.

Representatives of green parties in Japan and Mongolia also read statements against nuclear power, via video conferencing at the press event.

An estimated 200,000 people around Taiwan took to the streets March 9, calling for nuclear power plants to be scrapped.

Taiwan’s economics ministry, which oversees the state-owned Taiwan Power Co., said Taiwan needs nuclear power to avoid being over-dependent on imported energy raw materials, which are rising in cost internationally.

The economics minister has also warned of an energy shortage if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, currently under construction, is not put into operation.

But many people at the protests Saturday said Taiwan currently has an energy surplus and that the government should do more to encourage the public to use less electricity, while finding cleaner energy alternatives, instead of spending so much time and money to build the fourth nuclear power plant.

Rikiya Adachi, a member of Greens Japan, said the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered major damage in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, remains a danger to many workers there as they are still exposed to radiation.

“We call on the world to immediately start phasing out nuclear power,” Adachi said at the video conference. The world “must not repeat the same mistake ever again.”

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government evacuated people who lived within 20 kilometers of the plant.

The green parties urged people in the Asia Pacific region to participate in local commemorations of the March 11 nuclear disaster, support the development of smart green economies and demand due democratic process in referendums on nuclear power.

(By Christie Chen)

Original report: http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aALL&ID=201303110011

03/11/2013 – 12:00


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