The 4th Nuclear Plant and the Energy Market in Taiwan

3. Risks related to the Nuclear Energy

  • Natural disasters:

Taipei is within 50km from Gongliao where the 4th nuclear plant is being built, within 40km from the First Nuclear plant and within 35km from the Second Nuclear Plant. So here you are, 3 nuclear plants near your capital, where around 8million people are living, on a sismic area, facing the Pacific just on the way of typhoons and tsunamis… Well, that sounds… dangerous.

Capture d’écran 2014-05-10 à 12.23.48

Taipower has raised its standards after Fukushima and Longmen problems, however the risk is still there.

  • Lack of experience:

Longmen is a complex project, and a lot of irregularities have been found, casting a doubt on whether the place is safe. Furthermore, as of today, experts disagree on whether there is a sismic fault line just above the plant or not. see articles for more info, there’s a ton about it.

taiwan seismicity

  • Cost:

The Cost of the 4th Nuclear reactor has kept increasing since the 1991, here’s how it looks like:

Time Additional Budget (Billion NTD) Total Budget (BillionNTD) Notes
1991 169,7
2004 19 188,7
2005 44,8 233,5
2009 40,2 273,7
2013 10,2 283,8 As per Legislative Yuan data
2013 50 330 (minimum) As per Legislative Yuan data
  • The Phasing out of Nuclear I, II, III:

as per Taipower’s own words, in the 2012 Sustainability report, page 29, under “Phase out of Nuclear Plan”: “The phase out of Nuclear Plant #1 is complicated and the time frame is tight. In addition, this plant will operate until 2018. We do not have any experience in phasing out a nuclear power plant and we do not have comprehensive legal framework for such a task yet.” Words that speak for themselves…

  • Nuclear Waste handling: Longtan set a precedent:

Around 60km south from Taipei, in Longtan, Taipower has recently admitted to have secretly stored high grade nuclear waste in the end of the 80’s, and isprobably being still storing dangerous material there. In the past, as much as 8 explosions of hydrogen occured, that have been deemed as inoffensive and meaningless by the management.

The issue, while not fully clear, shows that Taipower is not ready to be transparent about its operations. I propose you to watch a documentary about the Lanyu island to understand more about the issue of storing nuclear waste, see bibliography below.

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5 thoughts on “The 4th Nuclear Plant and the Energy Market in Taiwan

  1. taipeir

    Nice work! Some bits still remain unclear to me (services and oil usage?) but overall we can see it’s industry that’s the key to reducing energy use, although there’s plenty of room in residential and transport to gain efficiency.

    Reply
    1. blf_taipei Post author

      Hi taipeir, thanks for your comment! Services refers to Taipower customers who are businesses by opposition to individuals and manufaturing facilities, if I understand correctly.
      For your question on oil usage, not too sure exactly what you mean?

      All in all industry is sure an important part of the equation, and that raises questions for which I have no answer: which are the most energy demanding industries in Taiwan and how much do they contribute to the national income? Can we get a top 10 of Taipower biggest customers, for example? Also, could there be separate tariffs in electricity prices for industries and individuals?

      I have just read today an interesting poll in Tianxia Magazine stating that people seem ready to carry the consequences of their ideas and accept if necessary power cuts, then only price hikes. They would also seemingly prefer having current nuclear plants run longer rather than open the 4th nuclear plant in Longmen. http://english.cw.com.tw/article.do?action=show&id=14755

      Reply
  2. mie

    In my opinion, people should devote at least as much time to opposing coal power as they do to opposing nuclear power. Coal smoke is killing heaps of people here and causing health problems to much larger part of the people; it’s not just theoretical, like the problems with nuclear power plants.
    Taiwan even has the largest coal plant in the world, which is also the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, but nobody seems to care: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taichung_Power_Plant

    Reply
    1. blf_taipei Post author

      When I looked at the documents it also became clear to me that the fantastic economic development of Taiwan comes at a cost, and that is the carbon footprint. This is why I would be in favor of degrowth and rationing of power both for individual and companies. Do you think Taiwanese people would accept that?

      Reply
  3. John Lysfjord

    Great analysis. For a next step you say “raise electricity costs and to strongly discourage polluting industries. ” How about doing both at the same time by introducing a carbon tax, like Korea have done?

    Reply

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