Authorities say energy policies are in line with public demand

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) The Bureau of Energy, responding to a protest by anti-nuclear demonstrators Sunday, said the government's energy policies are in line with public demand for improved energy efficiency and the abolition of nuclear power.In a statement released amid an anti-nuclear march on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, the bureau expressed hope the public will get behind the execution of those policies.The protest was held on the seventh anniversary of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, with the organizer National Nuclear Abolition Platform demanding the fast-tracking of three nuclear waste bills.The bills include one on nuclear waste disposal, which is being considered by the Cabinet; the second on the establishment of a nuclear waste management center, which has been delivered to the Legislature for review; and the third involves revisions of provisions governing the management of radioactive materials.The protesters also urged the government to decommission two aging operating nuclear power plants ahead of scheduled and to repurpose the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in northern Taiwan, which is currently mothballed.The energy bureau said the government is currently promoting measures on energy saving, creating new energy resources and methods of energy storage, as well integrating intelligent electricity generation systems, so that Taiwan is better able to adapt to a future without nuclear energy.In terms of green energy resources development, the government has set itself the goal of increasing the proportion of renewable energy-generated electricity from 5 percent to 20 percent by 2025, the bureau said.Also efforts are being made to promote solar and wind power and to encourage people to install solar panels on the roofs of their homes, it added.As for ending the use of nuclear power, the energy bureau said the First and Second Nuclear Power Plants will be decommissioned as scheduled, and that plans are being drawn up to develop the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant into a comprehensive electricity complex equipped with wind, fuel and solar power generators.Meanwhile, state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipowr) reiterated that the nation's three operational nuclear power plants will be decommissioned as planned and the nuclear-free home policy will be carried out.Decommissioning of the First Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei will start in December, while the Second Nuclear Power Plant, also located in New Taipei, and the Third in Pingtung County will begin decommissioning in 2021 and 2024, respectively, Taipower said.Even though the Atomic Energy Council has approved the reactivation of the second reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant after maintenance work, whether or not it happens will in no way impact the decommission deadline or the goal of developing Taiwan into a nuclear-free homeland by 2025, the company underlined.The Atomic Energy Council, which is in charge of nuclear energy, said in response to the calls of anti-nuclear activists that one of its operational focuses is the disposal of nuclear waste.The council said in a statement that it supports the drafting of radiative waste management bills and will oversee Taipower's mandatory mission to relocate the nuclear waste stored on Orchid Island, also called as Lanyu, off Taitung County.Lanyu residents have been demanding the removal of nuclear waste stored on the island for 30 years. Taipower initially promised to remove the nuclear waste from Lanyu by the end of 2002 but has been unable to do so because it has failed to find a new storage site.