The march on Saturday last week against nuclear power, under the theme “Farewell to Nuclear Power for a Beautiful Future,” called for saying goodbye to nuclear power plants, which the marchers said pose safety risks and leave the nation with difficult-to-process nuclear waste, and turning instead toward renewable and sustainable alternatives.
This year, with the second reactor at the Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant going through major maintenance, and the first reactor at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant offline due to issues with an emergency diesel generator, only the first reactor at the former and the second reactor at the latter are operational.
However, they are still producing enough energy to meet the nation’s needs. Even with the peak usage at 1:50pm on Wednesday last week, renewable energy sources provided 9.23 percent of the total, higher than the 5.794 percent provided by nuclear power plants.
Taiwan’s renewable energy installed capacity continues to increase, Atomic Energy Council figures show. In 2017, installed capacity stood at 10.6 percent, already surpassing the 10.3 percent nuclear installed capacity. In February, installed capacity for renewables was 12.1 percent, compared with 8.5 percent for nuclear installed capacity.
The gap will increase when the license for the second reactor at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant expires in July.
Taiwan is on the convergent boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Plate, and experiences frequent earthquakes. Using nuclear power carries the risk of accident to a degree far higher than other nations with more stable geological conditions.
In addition, the nation’s latitudinal position gives it significant solar resources. A 2014 analysis by international engineering consultancy 4C Offshore said that of the 20 offshore windfarm locations worldwide, the 16 with the strongest wind power were in the Taiwan Strait.
Even if the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was operational, research by National Taiwan Ocean University shows that Taiwan’s geothermal resources could provide the equivalent to 65 of the plants.
Geologically speaking, Taiwan is ready to say farewell to nuclear power.
With nuclear power on the decline, its advocates in Taiwan are dressing up their ideas in sophisticated packaging, suggesting that nuclear is the way to reduce coal burning.
Yet, according to council statistics, coal power accounted for 46 percent of nationwide energy provision last year, far higher than the 10 percent provided by nuclear power.
How many new reactors would be needed to provide more power than coal-powered generation? Where would these be located? Would local residents accept this?
When nuclear advocates tout nuclear power as a way to reduce carbon emissions, are they really using coal as an excuse to increase nuclear power generation?
Nuclear power is large-scale, centralized power generation: When a reactor fails, it results in a large reduction in power provision.
Renewable energy is more decentralized, so a simultaneous failure of several generators leads only to a reduction in efficiency, requiring only more careful management of storage and demand to maintain a stable supply.
Internationally, companies are increasingly emphasizing corporate and social responsibility, and many have joined the RE100 initiative committed to using 100 percent renewable energy.
If Taiwan wants to conduct business in the international community, it will have to keep up with international trends.
Tsai Ya-ying is a lawyer affiliated with the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association.
Translated by Paul Cooper
In 2020, then-US president Donald Trump’s administration banned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and Samsung from manufacturing advanced chips for Chinese companies on the Entity List such as Huawei. Last year, US President Joe Biden’s administration announced that exports of high-performance computing chips from the US to China require approval; sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China that can be used to produce logic chips at or below the 14/16-nanometer technology node, DRAM chips with a half-pitch less than or equal to 18 nanometers and NAND chips with 128 or more layers also require approval; and all US citizens or permanent
The Twenty-Four Histories (中國廿四史) is a collection of official Chinese dynastic histories from Records of the Grand Historian (史記) to the History of the Ming Dynasty (明史) that cover the time from the legendary Yellow Emperor (黃帝) to the Chongzhen Emperor (崇禎), the last Ming emperor. History is written by the victors. These histories are not merely records of the rise and fall of emperors, they also demonstrate the ways in which conquerors embellished their own achievements while deriding those of the conquered. The history written by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is no exception. The PRC presents its
In August 2013, Reuters reported that Beijing had been gaining soft power with investment commitments and trade with countries in Latin America. However, instead of jumping on the chance to make new allies, China stalled requests to establish diplomatic relations with the countries to avoid galling Taiwanese voters. Beijing was also courting then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and the tactic left China with a trump card if cross-strait relations turned cool. China had rebuffed at least five countries’ requests to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, the report said, quoting a China analyst. Honduras could become the ninth diplomatic ally, and also the fifth
OpenAI has announced a major upgrade to the technology that underpins ChatGPT, the seemingly magical online tool that professionals have been using to draft e-mails, write blog posts and more. If you think of ChatGPT as a car, the new language model known as GPT-4 adds a more powerful engine. The old ChatGPT could only read text. The new ChatGPT can look at a photograph of the contents of your fridge and suggest a dinner recipe. The old ChatGPT scored in the 10th percentile on the bar exam. The new one was in the 90th. In the hours since its release,