The magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Hualien on Tuesday caused several buildings to collapse. While this highlights problems with the nation’s building codes, it also shows the need to continue the policy of making Taiwan a nuclear-free homeland and that national security must not be ignored just to please a few businesspeople.
During the March 11, 2011, earthquake in Japan, I was in Tokyo on business and the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster made me a person of interest for the British National Health Service.
It is generally recognized that building safety in Japan is far more advanced than that in Taiwan, so why did the 2011 earthquake cause such great damage?
Aside from the tsunami that engulfed parts of Japan’s northeast coast, a bigger problem was that the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station’s cooling system had stopped operating because of a power outage.
The result was a disaster that was comparable to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.
Given Taiwan’s building standards, if an earthquake were to occur near a nuclear power plant, would those Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians who insist on continuing to use nuclear power be able to guarantee that history would not repeat itself?
France also has many nuclear power stations, but Europeans in general trust that they work because of the oversight that the French government has bestowed on its nuclear authority and its transparent operations.
France is a nation with a revolutionary tradition whose citizens will take to the streets in demonstrations that at times have turned violent, and they are monitoring all government institutions and facilities, including nuclear power plants, as if they were thieves.
Taiwan has not even been able to deal properly with transitional justice and the lingering cases and documents from the KMT’s previous authoritarian rule.
If there is another government transition, who would bet their money that nuclear power oversight would become as transparent as it is in France?
Not even the Democratic Progressive Party guarantees full transparency, so it would be surprising if there were no problems related to nuclear power under a government led by the KMT — a party that cannot even be transparent when it comes to its party assets.
To avoid a nuclear disaster similar to the one at Fukushima, Taiwan needs to abandon nuclear power altogether and to emulate Germany’s extensive use of renewable energy sources so as to strike a balance between maintaining stable energy supply and national security.
Regardless of who runs Taiwan, the conditions for relying on nuclear power cannot be met until building safety problems have been resolved.
The Soviet Union had kept its use of nuclear power under wraps, and it was only when European countries detected high radiation levels not knowing where they came from that the Chernobyl accident was revealed.
Hong Kong’s greatest danger lies in all the nuclear power plants controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. If a problem occurs in any of those plants close to the territory, no one knows if Hong Kong would remain safe.
A country that wants to use nuclear power should first ask itself how much discipline its people possess.
Martin Oei is a political commentator based in Germany.
Translated by Perry Svensson
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With