The public awareness of nuclear power in Taiwan has increased markedly especially after the Fukushima nuclear accidents made the nuclear power a contentious front-pages issue. Nowadays, Taiwan has 22% (i.e. 5028 megawatts ) of her energy from the nuclear power produced by three power plants with 6 reactors. In addition to these three power plants, the under-construction nuclear power plant four has never been away from the vortex of public opinion in the past 20 years. The rising environmental and anti-nuclear movements in Taiwan have created no shortage of policy disputes and public concern on the use of nuclear power for electricity generation【1】. It seems to be an irresistible trend to make Taiwan a “nuke-free home”. But it must be a long-term process rather than an immediate action. Before we completely enable to get rid of nuclear power, there are a lot we can do to accelerate the process such as starting an energy saving revolution, developing the technology of renewable energy and even properly making use of the existing nuclear power plants.
1. The condition of Taiwan
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an international review of nuclear safety indicated that two of the three nuclear power plants operating in Taiwan were listed as the most dangerous in the world. 【2】According to a survey conducted in August 2011, 66% of the 2819 responders perceived that Taiwan's safety management of nuclear power plants was inferior to Japan's, while 40% perceived a higher possibility of nuclear accidents like that in Japan. Actually, the condition of Taiwan decides that it should create a “nuke-free home”
First of all, Taiwan is a small and geological unstable area that is frequently visited by earthquake, volcanic activity or other nature disasters. A 2011 Natural Resources Defense Council report that evaluated the seismic hazard to reactors worldwide, as determined by the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program data, placed all of Taiwan's reactors within the highest risk group of 12 reactors within very high seismic hazard areas, along with some of Japan's reactors. 【3】What’s more, the statistics offered by Central Weather Bureau shows that just during the past decade there were 72 typhoon have been warned including 34 moderate typhoon and 12 super ones. Earth quakes, typhoon, storm surge and mud-rock flow---those nature disasters definitely are like sword of Damocles and threaten the safety of nuclear power.
Secondly, nearly 150 tons of nuclear waste is produced every year, and that disposal of long-lived waste and used nuclear fuel is a thorny problem. Nuclear waste is extremely radioactive so that it has to be isolated and confined in appropriate disposal facilities for a sufficient period of time until it no longer hazardous. However, the period of time ranges from a few days for very short-lived isotopes to millions of years for spent nuclear fuel. Today in Taiwan, the low-level wastes are currently stored at Orchid Island and the temporary...