Nuclear power has been a decisive topic in Taiwan, and has received overwhelming opposition. We at Foreigners in Taiwan are passionate about nuclear energy, and think it a pity that nuclear power does not receive the same support that it does in other countries.
Overview of Nuclear Power in Taiwan currently:
History of Nuclear Power Opposition:
Opposition to nuclear power has existed since before Fukushima helped push waves of protest and anti-nuclear sentiment in Taiwan.
Fear and protest regarding nuclear power was strongly bolstered by the 2011 Japan nuclear leak. Many people feared that a similar situation could occur in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s nuclear plants are under active seismic risk, and have some of the highest risk of seismic hazard of any nuclear plants in the world, according the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program. Thomas B. Cochran, Matthew G. McKinzie (19 August 2011). "Global Implications of the Fukushima Disaster for Nuclear Power" (PDF). Natural Resources Defense Council. Retrieved 24 February2012.
Another problem is finding a place to store Taiwan nuclear waste. Currently the government uses Lanyu Island, which has made the local residents very unhappy (as this was originally done without their permission). Putting the waste in other countries also causes diplomatic problems.
Alternatives to Nuclear Power:
In 2016 The Tsai administration won the election, promising to phase out nuclear power by 2025, replacing it with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar (but mostly coal for now!). However, these plans are far from completion.
Fusion power is also considered as an alternative, but this is simply not realistic. No one in the world is running this as a feasible energy source. This should be completely off the table until reliable fusion power is developed.
Problems that Eliminating Nuclear Power will Create:
1. More Coal
Nuclear power has mainly been replaced by coal, as renewable energy sources are stymied by EPA assessments and lack of infrastructure. The increase in coal power has caused C02 emissions to rise in Taiwan by a considerable amount.
Spent coal ash is actually more radioactive that nuclear waste, and it affects all that are close to coal power plants. Source:
2. Electricity Blackouts/ Higher Prices
Perhaps the side effect that will hit most people closest to home is a raise in electricity prices. Taipower has said the price for electricity could increase by 40% if nuclear is shut down.
Also, there is the risk of summer blackouts when electricity use is at its maximum. As a taxpaying foreigner, I think that is ridiculous. Not only will it affect consumers and those barely making it with Taiwan’s low wages, this will affect Taiwan’s feasibility as a base for industry.
Wind and Solar cannot pick up slack unless somehow they can overcome EPA woes and locals not willing to give up their land for the infrastructure. Even if these problems were overcome, Solar and Wind will not be as reliable as nuclear, and I foresee summer blackouts when winds in the straight are not blowing as hard.
Solutions for Nuclear Power in Taiwan：
Opposition to nuclear power in Taiwan is not going away anytime soon, but we believe that perhaps this opposition can be overcome by promoting the following strategies:
Overall we as foreigners in Taiwan believe that nuclear power is better for the environment, more cost effective, and more reliable than any other source of energy. We understand the opposition in Taiwan, but we hope we can continue to raise awareness and perhaps help to keep this integral power resource in Taiwan, and continue to improve Taiwan’s nuclear infrastructure so that is safe from disasters, such as Fukushima.
If you have any comments or you would like to join us in helping raise nuclear power awareness in Taiwan, please leave a comment below.
Also, be sure to follow our twitter handle: https://twitter.com/TWfornuclear
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.