Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday said Taiwan could not afford to abandon nuclear power in the near future and should enhance its nuclear energy program by developing advanced technologies, such as nuclear fusion.
“Taiwanese scientists should work on nuclear fusion research and engineering to explore new methods to replace current technologies, which are based on nuclear fission, and are a by-product of the Manhattan Project developed during World War II,” Lee said on the second day of a two-day visit to Hsinchu County.
While the nation is embroiled in the debate over the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), and nuclear technology does pose threats of radiation leaks and other risks to human health, theproduction of nuclear energy is not all bad, he said.
There are alternative ways to generate nuclear electricity, but no one in Taiwan was willing to discuss them, he said.
The nuclear-free homeland initiative promoted by several politicians, such as former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), is well-intentioned, Lee said, but Taiwan is unlikely to secure sufficient electricity supplies from alternative energy sources with its high dependence on imported oil and gas.
Wind and solar sources of energy both have limitations and could not fill the void left by nuclear power, he said.
Between now and the implementation of nuclear fusion projects, biomass energy would be a good option to meet the nation’s electricity demand, as more than 200,000 hectares of fallow land could be used to plant sugarcane or corn to produce alcohol fuel, which is a mature and widespread technology used in countries such as Brazil, he said.
Lee said he would not participate in the government’s proposed referendum on continuing the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
Commenting on the fisheries agreement signed by Taiwan and Japan on Wednesday, which assured Taiwanese vessels a larger intervention-free fishing zone around the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), Lee said the agreement would benefit Taiwanese fishermen in operating in fishing grounds they have worked for more than a century.
Lee he was glad that the agreement had finally been signed 17 years after negotiations began, and said that Japan had made concessions in the talks for a number of reasons.
Japan would like to strengthen its partnership with Taiwan in the wake of heightened tensions with China over the Diaoyutais, Lee said, adding that it also might feel like it needs to repay Taiwanese for the huge donations they made after a tsunami and earthquake rocked Japan in March 2011.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students