Taiwan to end nuclear power generation in 2025

The Asahi Shimbun | Asia & Japan Watch

Photo/Illutration
Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei City in the northern part of the island. Its construction has been suspended due to an anti-nuclear movement that has intensified since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Photo/Illustraion

TAIPEI–In a rare move for power-hungry Asia, the Taiwanese government has decided to abolish nuclear power generation by 2025 to meet the public’s demand for a nuclear-free society following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, equivalent to the Cabinet in Japan, approved revisions to the electricity business law, which aim to promote the private-sector’s participation in renewable energy projects, on Oct. 20.

“Revising the law shows our determination to promote the move toward the abolition of nuclear power generation and change the ratios of electricity sources,” said President Tsai Ing-wen.

The government plans to start deliberations on the revised bill in the Legislative Yuan, or the parliament, in the near future, with the goal of passing it within this year.

Movements toward a nuclear-free society are active in Europe. For example, Germany has decided to abolish nuclear power generation by 2022.

On the other hand, China and India are increasing nuclear power generation to meet the growing demand for electricity. In Taiwan, nuclear power accounted for 14.1 percent of all the electricity generated in 2015. At present, three nuclear power plants are operating.

However, the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant heightened public opinion against nuclear power generation. In response to the sentiment, Tsai, who assumed the presidency in May with a vow of establishing a nuclear-free society, led the government’s effort to abolish nuclear power.

Like Japan, Taiwan is hit by many earthquakes. The three nuclear power plants currently in operation will reach their service lives of 40 years by 2025. The revised bill will clearly stipulate that operations of all the nuclear plants will be suspended by that year. The stipulation will close the possible extension of their operations.

The government is looking to solar power and wind power as the pillars of renewable energies. It aims to increase their total ratio among all electricity sources from the current 4 percent to 20 percent in 2025.

However, meeting the goal assumes that electricity generated by solar power will increase 24-fold in 10 years. Because of that, some people harbor doubts on the viability of the plan.

“A hurdle to overcome to achieve the goal is very high,” said an electric power industry source.

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