The answer to these problems lies not in the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and whether it becomes operational, but with whether the government addresses the growth in demand for electricity by investing in energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy sources, and improves load management.
Rather than reminding the public of the NT$300 billion invested in the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, it might be more useful if the government worked out how public money could be used in a more positive way.
One should not forget that there is the unresolved issue of how nuclear waste from the plant is to be processed which, in addition to involving prodigious amounts of money, will affect the environment and social justice, and is an issue Taipower is reluctant to address.
Regrettably, the day after Jiang’s announcement of the referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Taipower rushed into a propaganda blitz, trying to intimidate the public with a deluge of misinformation.
The Central News Agency followed suit, releasing a series of reports on the continued use of nuclear power in the international community.
As part of this deluge they made much of the fact that France, which relies heavily on nuclear power, has been able to achieve energy independence as a result, while neglecting to mention that this reliance on nuclear power places its power grid at the mercy of the weather. In the winter France is subject to power shortages and has to import energy from overseas.
Communications provided to the legislature by Taipower are full of this kind of misinformation, and this is then broadcast through the legislature’s huge information machine.
We have yet to find out how exactly the referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will play out, but if the public continues to let this political manipulation continue, Taiwan will lose a chance to properly debate the nuclear power issue and deepen its democracy, and would forgo an opportunity to work toward a non-nuclear, low-carbon nation.
Fang Szu-hung is a board member of the Green Citizen’s Action Alliance.
Translated by Paul Cooper