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Taiwan to hold referendum on lifting Fukushima food ban in November

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Senior officials of the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s largest opposition party, hold a press conference on Aug. 27, 2018 at their headquarters in Taipei to state their opposition to lifting a ban on food imports from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures. The banners read “oppose nuclear food.”
 
August 28, 2018
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s largest opposition party Kuomintang has announced that it has collected some 470,000 signatures supporting a referendum on whether to lift a ban on the import of food products from five Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster.
The number is far more than the 280,000 legally required to hold a referendum, and it is most likely that one will be held on Nov. 24 in tandem with general local elections.
Taiwan has banned foodstuff from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma in the northern and eastern parts of Japan, and the Kuomintang supports the ban.
A national referendum must have a turnout rate of at least 25 percent for the result to be valid, but this hurdle is likely to be cleared if the voting is done alongside the local elections. If voters back the ban, it would be extremely difficult for the administration of Tsai Ing-wen to ignore the outcome and Japan-Taiwan relations would suffer substantially as a result.
Behind the referendum move is a political rivalry between the Kuomintang and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headed by Tsai. The opposition is stepping up attacks on the ruling party in a bid to win the local elections and build political momentum toward the 2020 presidential election.
The Kuomintang has launched a negative PR campaign against food items from Fukushima and the other prefectures because the Tsai administration is positive about lifting the import ban. The opposition called the Japanese products “nuclear food,” meaning contaminated by the nuclear accident, and accused the government of ignoring people’s food safety concerns. A person linked to the DPP lamented that the issue is “being used in a political fight.”
The government of Japan has repeatedly urged Taiwan to lift the import ban, saying the safety of its food items is scientifically proven. However, the Tsai administration is hesitant about rushing a decision on resuming imports as it faces faltering approval rates and the issue could trigger explosive opposition from some voters.

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August 28, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Premier encorages renewable energy, repeats commitment to phase out nuclear power

Infrastructure Journal 23rd Aug 2018 , Premier Lai Ching-te has underscored Taiwan government’s commitment to
retiring nuclear power by 2025, lending greater confidence to the national
renewable energy agenda.
https://ijglobal.com/articles/134907/taiwan-cements-support-for-renewables

August 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s energy transition from nuclear to wind and solar power

Nuclear Ghost Town Reveals Power Risk for Taiwan’s Energy Shift, Bloomberg, By Dan Murtaugh,  Miaojung Lin, and Samson Ellis   August 7, 2018, 

  • Plan to shut reactors sparks race to develop wind, solar power
  • Goal is 70% of electricity from gas, renewable sources by 2025

A map at the guard-house of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan shows what might have been: Classrooms, dormitories, a grocery store, a police station. It was supposed to be a self-contained city on the island’s northeast coast designed to meet growing demand for electricity in Asia’s seventh-largest economy.

Instead, the complex stands empty — unfinished and never used — a $10 billion casualty of growing public opposition to nuclear power. Since a disastrous 2011 reactor meltdown in Japan, more than 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) away, Taiwan has rewritten its energy plans. President Tsai Ing-wen ordered all of the country’s nuclear reactors to shut by 2025.

Taiwan’s Transition

Taichung gears up for wind power as Lungmen’s reactors are mothballed

That’s set off a high-risk gamble to find alternatives to nuclear, which supplies 12 percent of the island’s electricity, while limiting an increase in carbon emissions. The island’s sprint reflects a drive across the region toward cleaner energy sources such as sunlight, wind and natural gas. Nations from Australia to South Korea and mainland Chinato India are seeking to meet rising demand without belching more emissions blamed for climate change and smog.

Taiwan’s solution: Wind turbines are planned in the blustery Taiwan Strait, solar panels are popping up on coastal salt flats, and terminals are being planned to import more liquefied natural gas. But new sources could take years to develop, making power rationing and blackouts a possibility as the gap narrows between demand and generating capacity.

“There are going to be concerns over the next few years about reserve margins and power supply reliability,” said Zhouwei Diao, an IHS Markit analyst in Beijing.

The government’s plan has several parts. First, all nuclear and most oil-fueled generators will be shut. Together, they supplied 16 percent of Taiwan’s electricity in 2016. The country will still have about the same amount of coal capacity by 2025 as now, but its share of total power generation will drop to 30 percent from about half as sources of alternative energy expand. Natural gas will see the biggest usage gain, accounting for half of supply by 2025, while renewables like wind and solar will more than triple to 20 percent.

As electricity demand grows over the next seven years, the government says it will boost generating capacity while limiting carbon emissions and ridding itself of a political headache.

Taiwan’s state-run nuclear industry already was unpopular after it built a controversial waste-storage site on Orchid Island, home to one of the country’s indigenous peoples. But sentiment turned even more negative after the disaster in Japan, which occurred after a giant earthquake and tsunami. The disaster prompted countries including Germany and South Korea to ditch their nuclear programs.

Taiwan Power Co. operates three nuclear plants and was building the fourth in Lungmen when the Fukushima meltdown occurred. In 2014, the government halted construction that was nearly complete, with uranium-fuel rods in place. In 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party won election on an anti-nuclear platform. Last month, workers removed the unused fuel rods and sold them to a buyer in the U.S.

…….. The government has held firm to its plan. Part of the optimism comes from the plunging cost of building wind and solar projects around the world. There’s also expanding supplies of cheap liquefied natural gas available from the Middle East, Australia and the U.S…….. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-05/nuclear-ghost-town-reveals-power-risk-for-taiwan-s-energy-shift

August 13, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan closing nuclear power stations, investing heavily in wind energy

Offshore Wind Journal 10th May 2018 , Taiwan’s Government is making good on longstanding plans to close nuclear power plants and invest heavily in offshore wind energy. Late April 2018
saw the authorities in Taiwan announce the results of the first large-scale
auction for offshore wind in the country, a process that will eventually
see around 3.8 GW of capacity being built there.

This demonstrates theTaiwanese Government’s determination to follow-through and execute plans
announced earlier for the sector. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has
proposed to end the country’s dependence on nuclear power by 2025 while
sourcing 20% of Taiwan’s electricity from renewable sources – that is,
five times the level in 2015. That plan depends heavily on offshore wind,
for which the Taiwan Strait is seen as particularly well-suited.

Data provided by law firm Jones Day showed that in 2016, electricity generated
from renewable energy accounted for 4.8% of the aggregate produced
electricity and 9.4% of the aggregate installed capacity in Taiwan, so the
government’s strategy is certainly an ambitious one. In due course the
Taiwanese Government would like to have an energy mix of 50% natural gas,
30% coal and 20% renewable energy.
http://www.owjonline.com/news/view,taiwan-makes-good-on-plan-to-replace-nuclear-power-with-wind_51748.htm

May 12, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Thousands of Taiwanese rally for an end to nuclear power

Protest draws thousands calling for end to nuclear power http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201803110013.aspx,  – -By Wu Hsin-yun and Elizabeth Hsu)2018/03/11  Taipei, March 11 (CNA) An annual anti-nuclear march was held on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Sunday, drawing about 2,000 people calling for an end to the use of nuclear power in Taiwan.

The protest, held on the seventh anniversary of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, was organized by the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform, an organization joined by hundreds of anti-nuclear civic groups from around Taiwan.

While pressing the government to decommission nuclear power plants as soon as possible, the other purpose of the Sunday’s demonstration was to prepare people for the potentially high cost of closing the nation’s three operating nuclear power plants and the disposal of nuclear waste, the organizer said.

Walking with protesters, Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) of the opposition New Power Party, said that as the government has already said Taiwan will be nuclear free by 2025, it should move forward with the plan, but is instead going backwards.

The recent approval of the reactivation of the second reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant after maintenance work is “obviously a backwards move,” Huang said.

The lawmaker named the nuclear plant as one of the most dangerous power plants on Earth due to its geographic position, in an area subject to volcanic, earthquake and tsunami activities, and raised safety concerns in the wake of reported radiation leaks and explosions in the past.

Three major demands were made during the protest, including on the disposal of nuclear waste, a transition to environmentally-friendly energy sources and the decommissioning or re-purposing of nuclear power plants in the country.

Northern Coast Anti-Nuclear Motion League member Chiang Ying-mei (江櫻梅) urged the government to proactively address the thorny problem of nuclear waste disposal, calling for the fast-tracking of three bills detailing the management of nuclear waste.

The bills include one on nuclear waste disposal, which is being considered by the Cabinet; the second on the establishment of a nuclear waste management center, which has been delivered to the Legislature for review; and the third involves revisions of provisions governing the management of radioactive materials.

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March 14, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan: protest rally calls for a nuclear-free island

Taiwanese protesters rally for ‘nuclear-free’ island, Agence France Presse  11 Mar 18 
Government has promised to phase out nuclear energy by 2025.  Hundreds of anti-nuclear protesters staged a rally in Taiwan on Sunday to demand the island’s government honour its pledge to abolish the use of atomic energy by 2025

Waving placards reading “nuclear go zero”, and “abolish nuclear, save Taiwan”, they gathered outside the presidential office in Taipei on the same day Japan marked the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

Taiwan’s cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council recently decided to allow state-owned energy company Taipower to restart a reactor at a facility near Taipei, pending parliament’s final approval.

The reactor has been offline since May 2016 after a glitch was found in its electrical system, which the company said had since been resolved.

Anti-nuclear groups are now questioning whether Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will keep its promise to phase out nuclear energy.

“It would be violating the spirit of creating a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 pledged by the DPP,” said Tsui Shu-hsin of the prospect of restarting the reactor. Tsui is the spokeswoman for the Nuclear Go Zero Action Platform, which organised the rally.

Lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang, head of the opposition New Power Party, echoed the sentiment.

“The government should move forward, not backwards and restarting the reactor would be a regression,” he told reporters at the rally.

…….Taiwan started annual anti-nuclear rallies to commemorate Japan’s nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, when the Fukushima energy plant was hit by a tsunami following an earthquake, knocking out power to its cooling systems and sending reactors into meltdown.

Taiwan, like Japan, is prone to frequent quakes as the island lies on a number of fault lines.

“Nuclear facilities are unsafe as Taiwan has many earthquakes,” 40-year-old protester Fan De-lu said. “The government needs to take the lead to actively develop alternative and green energy.” http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2136732/taiwanese-protesters-rally-nuclear-free-island

March 12, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s problem in searching for geological location for nuclear waste dump

GDF Watch 5th Feb 2018, Taiwan has published a report today on their geological disposal plans. The
country has decided to prioritise looking for granite-based locations for
the disposal of high-level radioactive waste, but acknowledged that such
locations were limited to only a small part of Taiwan.

The proposal is the conclusion of an 11-year study to evaluate suitable host rock suitable for
storing spent fuel. Energy company Taipower, which is responsible for
managing radioactive waste, said it will give priority to assessing the
building of a national geological repository in granite because Sweden and
Finland have also chosen granite-based sites for their waste repositories.
But it has not ruled out other host rock choices.
http://www.gdfwatch.org.uk/2018/02/05/taiwan-opts-geological-disposal/

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan, wastes | Leave a comment

Taiwan Premier Lin Chuan steadfast in goal of a non nuclear future

Focus Taiwan 17tyh Aug 2017, Despite  a nationwide power outage caused by a technical error at the
Tatan, Taoyuan power plant on Tuesday, Premier Lin Chuan on Wednesday said
the government still plans to stick to its non-nuclear homeland goal by
relying on nuclear power as little as possible.

During an interview with CNA on Wednesday afternoon and following an upsurge in criticism of the
government’s energy policy focused on Taiwan Power Co., Lin said it was
illogical to call for the long-term use of nuclear power as a way to solve
the short-term problem of an accidental power outage.
http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201708170027.aspx

August 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council Establishes First Food Testing Lab for Japanese Food Imports

Taiwan communicates on the control of foodstuffs from Japan. I note that these are the same limits, concerning Cesium, in the European Union … (according to the last regulation dated 13/07/2017).
In the EU, it’s been a long time since Iodine 131 is no longer controlled.
The article does not mention “other foodstuffs”, for which the maximum import limit in the EU is 100 Bq / kg.

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AEC lab to test food imports for radiation

The AEC said the new facility can test up to 1,700 samples per month and would run tests on food samples sent by customs offices in northern Taiwan

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday announced that it has established the nation’s first food testing laboratory for radioactive contamination in response to calls from civic groups following last year’s public hearings on the issue of Japanese food imports.

The facility is the first of its kind to obtain certification from the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF), AEC Department of Radiation Protection Director-General Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙) said.

The council had already been testing food products for radiation, but the new laboratory would be a separate branch entirely dedicated to testing food, Liu said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s plan to lift a ban on food imports from Japan’s Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures led to a public outcry, amid fears that food from these areas were affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.

At the public hearings, many experts and civic groups questioned the capability of the nation’s ability to detect radioactive contamination in food products.

The council said it receives about 1,400 food samples from the ministry each month and that the new laboratory would be able test up to 1,700 samples per month.

The council received 2,200 food samples in a single month following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, but the monthly average of food samples received for the rest of 2011 was about 1,600, Liu said.

The number of samples sent to the council has not increased significantly over the past few years, the council added.

The new laboratory in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) is equipped with five high-purity germanium detectors and employs 12 specialists, increasing resources by one detector and two staff members, Liu said, adding that the laboratory will be testing samples sent by the customs offices in northern Taiwan.

A smaller laboratory run by the council in Kaohsiung tests samples from Taichung and Kaohsiung ports, and is waiting for TAF certification for food testing, he added.

The ministry has determined the maximum allowable level of radioactive residue in foods for three isotopes — iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 — in the Standards for the Tolerance of Atomic Dust and Radioactivity Contamination in Foods (食品中原子塵或放射能污染容許量標準).

For dairy products and baby foods, the limit is set at 55 becquerels (Bq) of iodine-131, 50Bq of cesium-134 and 50Bq of cesium-137 per kilogram of food, while beverages and bottled water can contain up to 100Bq of iodine-131, 10Bq of cesium-134 or 10Bq of cesium-137 per liter.

As iodine-131 and cesium-134 have shorter half lives, the council is more concerned with cesium-137 contamination in food imported from Japan, Liu said.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/08/01/2003675708

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Taiwan | , | Leave a comment

The international nuclear industry in financial meltdown

Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis, Jim Green, New Matilda, 9 July 2017 https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/09/global-meltdown-nuclear-powers-annus-horribilis/

This year will go down with 1979 (Three Mile Island), 1986 (Chernobyl) and 2011 (Fukushima) as one of the nuclear industry’s worst ever ‒ and there’s still another six months to go, writes Dr Jim Green.

Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small.

In January, the World Nuclear Association anticipated 18 power reactor start-ups this year. The projection has been revised down to 14 and even that seems more than a stretch. There has only been one reactor start-up in the first half of the year according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System, and two permanent reactor closures.

The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory ‒ 59 reactors are under construction as of May 2017, the first time since 2010 that the number has fallen below 60.

Pro-nuclear journalist Fred Pearce wrote on May 15: “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so. With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear ‒ existing power plants across the United States are being shut early; new reactor designs are falling foul of regulators, and public support remains in free fall. Now come the bankruptcies…. The industry is in crisis. It looks ever more like a 20th century industrial dinosaur, unloved by investors, the public, and policymakers alike. The crisis could prove terminal.”

Pro-nuclear lobby groups are warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

United States

The most dramatic story this year has been the bankruptcy protection filing of US nuclear giant Westinghouse onMarch 29. Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba states that there is “substantial doubt” about Toshiba’s “ability to continue as a going concern”. These nuclear industry giants have been brought to their knees by cost overruns ‒estimated at US$13 billion ‒ building four AP1000 power reactors in the U.S.

The nuclear debate in the US is firmly centred on attempts to extend the lifespan of ageing, uneconomic reactors with state bailouts. Financial bailouts by state governments in New York and Illinois are propping up ageing reactors, but a proposed bailout in Ohio is meeting stiff opposition. The fate of Westinghouse and its partially-built AP1000 reactors are much discussed, but there is no further discussion about new reactors ‒ other than to note that they won’t happen.

Six reactors have been shut down over the past five years in the US, and another handful will likely close in the next five years. How far and fast will nuclear fall? Exelon ‒ the leading nuclear power plant operator in the US ‒ claims that “economic and policy challenges threaten to close about half of America’s reactors” in the next two decades. According to pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Environmental Progress‘, almost one-quarter of US reactors are at high risk of closure by 2030, and almost three-quarters are at medium to high risk. In May, the US Energy Information Administration released an analysis projecting nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 per cent to 11 per cent by 2050.

There are different views about how far and fast nuclear will fall in the US ‒ but fall it will. And there is no dispute that many plants are losing money. More than half in fact, racking up losses totalling about US$2.9 billion a year according to a recent analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And a separate Bloomberg report found that expanding state aid to money-losing reactors across the eastern US may leave consumers on the hook for as much as US$3.9 billion a year in higher power bills.

Japan

Fukushima clean-up and compensation cost estimates have doubled and doubled again and now stand at US$191 billion. An analysis by the Japan Institute for Economic Research estimates that the total costs for decommissioning, decontamination and compensation could be far higher at US$443‒620 billion.

Only five reactors are operating in Japan as of July 2017, compared to 54 before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. The prospects for new reactors are bleak. Japan has given up on its Monju fast breeder reactor ‒ successive governments wasted US$10.6 billion on Monju and decommissioning will cost another US$2.7 billion.

As mentioned, Toshiba is facing an existential crisis due to the crippling debts of its subsidiary Westinghouse. Toshibaannounced on May 15 that it expects to report a consolidated net loss of US$8.4 billion for the 2016‒2017 financial year which ended March 31.

Hitachi is backing away from its plan to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors in Wylfa, Wales. Hitachi recentlysaid that if it cannot attract partners to invest in the project before construction is due to start in 2019, the project will be suspended.

Hitachi recently booked a massive loss on a failed investment in laser uranium enrichment technology in the US. A 12 May 2017 statement said the company had posted an impairment loss on affiliated companies’ common stock of US$1.66 billion for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017, and “the major factor” was Hitachi’s exit from the laser enrichment project. Last year a commentator opined that “the way to make a small fortune in the uranium enrichment business in the US is to start with a large one.”

France

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” according to former EDF director Gérard Magnin. France has 58 operable reactors and just one under construction.

French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns for the two reactors amount to about US$14.5 billion.

Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“. Now Areva itself is in tatters and is in the process of a government-led restructure and another taxpayer-funded bailout. On March 1, Areva posted a €665 million net loss for 2016. Losses in the preceding five years exceeded €10 billion.

In February, EDF released its financial figures for 2016: earnings and income fell and EDF’s debt remained steady at €37.4 billion. EDF plans to sell €10 billion of assets by 2020 to rein in its debt, and to sack up to 7,000 staff. The French government provided EDF with €3 billion in extra capital in 2016 and will contribute €3 billion towards a €4 billioncapital raising this year. On March 8, shares in EDF hit an all-time low a day after the €4 billion capital raising was launched; the share price fell to €7.78, less than one-tenth of the high a decade ago.

Costs of between €50 billion and €100 billion will need to be spent by 2030 to meet new safety requirements for reactors in France and to extend their operating lives beyond 40 years.

EDF has set aside €23 billion to cover reactor decommissioning and waste management costs in France ‒ just over half of the €54 billion that EDF estimates will be required. A recent report by the French National Assembly’s Commission for Sustainable Development and Regional Development concluded that there is “obvious under-provisioning” and that decommissioning and waste management will take longer, be more challenging and cost much more than EDF anticipates.

In 2015, concerns about the integrity of some EPR pressure vessels were revealed, prompting investigations that are still ongoing. Last year, the scandal was magnified when the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced that Areva had informed it of “irregularities in components produced at its Creusot Forge plant.” The problems concern documents attesting to the quality of parts manufactured at the site. At least 400 of the 10,000 quality documents reviewed by Areva contained anomalies. Work at the Creusot Forge foundry was suspended in the wake of the scandal and Areva is awaiting ASN approval to restart the foundry.

French environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot said on June 12 that the government plans to close some nuclear reactors to reduce nuclear’s share of the country’s power mix. “We are going to close some nuclear reactors and it won’t be just a symbolic move,” he said.

India

Nuclear power accounts for just 3.4 percent of electricity supply in India and that figure will not rise significantly, if at all. In May, India’s Cabinet approved a plan to build 10 indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR). That decision can be read as an acknowledgement that plans for six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and six French EPR reactors are unlikely to eventuate.

The plan for 10 new PHWRs faces major challenges. Suvrat Raju and M.V. Ramana noted: “[N]uclear power will continue to be an expensive and relatively minor source of electricity for the foreseeable future…. The announcement about building 10 PHWRs fits a pattern, often seen with the current government, where it trumpets a routine decision to bolster its “bold” credentials. Most of the plants that were recently approved have been in the pipeline for years. Nevertheless, there is good reason to be sceptical of these plans given that similar plans to build large numbers of reactors have failed to meet their targets, often falling far short.”

South Africa

An extraordinary High Court judgement on April 26 ruled that much of South Africa’s nuclear new-build program is without legal foundation. The High Court set aside the Ministerial determination that South Africa required 9.6 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear capacity, and found that numerous bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements were unconstitutional and unlawful. President Jacob Zuma is trying to revive the nuclear program, but it will most likely be shelved when Zuma leaves office in 2019 (if he isn’t removed earlier). Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on June 21 that South Africa will review its nuclear plans as part of its response to economic recession.

South Korea

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years. President Moon said: “We will completely re-examine the existing policies on nuclear power. We will scrap the nuclear-centred polices and move toward a nuclear-free era. We will eliminate all plans to build new nuclear plants.”

Since the presidential election on May 9, the ageing Kori-1 reactor has been permanently shut down, work on two partially-built reactors (Shin Kori 5 and 6) has been suspended pending a review, and work on two planned reactors (Shin-Hanul 3 and 4) has been stopped.

Taiwan

Taiwan’s Cabinet reiterated on June 12 the government’s resolve to phase out nuclear power. The government remains committed to the goal of decommissioning the three operational nuclear power plants as scheduled and making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung said.

UK

Tim Yeo, a former Conservative politician and now a nuclear industry lobbyist with New Nuclear Watch Europe, saidthe compounding problems facing nuclear developers in the UK “add up to something of a crisis for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme.”

The lobby group noted delays with the EPR reactor in Flamanville, France and the possibility that those delays would flow on to the two planned EPR reactors at Hinkley Point; the lack of investors for the proposed Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at Wylfa; the acknowledgement by the NuGen consortium that the plan for three AP1000 reactors at Moorside faces a “significant funding gap”; and the fact that the Hualong One technology which China General Nuclear Power Corporation hopes to deploy at Bradwell in Essex has yet to undergo its generic design assessment.

The only reactor project with any momentum in the UK is Hinkley Point, based on the French EPR reactor design. The head of one of Britain’s top utilities said on June 19 that Hinkley Point is likely to be the only nuclear project to go ahead in the UK. Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of SSE, an energy supplier and former investor in new nuclear plants, said: “The bottom line in nuclear is that it looks like only Hinkley Point will get built and Flamanville needs to go well for that to happen.”

There is growing pressure for the obscenely expensive Hinkley Point project to be cancelled. The UK National Audit Office report released a damning report on June 23. The Audit Office said: “The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits… Today’s report finds that the Department has not sufficiently considered the costs and risks of its deal for consumers…. Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract for difference has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion.”

Writing in the Financial Times on May 26, Neil Collins said: “EDF, of course, is the contractor for that white elephant in the nuclear room, Hinkley Point. If this unproven design ever gets built and produces electricity, the UK consumer will be obliged to pay over twice the current market price for the output…. The UK’s energy market is in an unholy mess… Scrapping Hinkley Point would not solve all of [the problems], but it would be a start.”

And on it goes. Hinkley Point is one of the “great spending dinosaurs of the political dark ages” according to The Guardian. It is a “white elephant” according to an editorial in The Times.

EDF said on June 26 that it is conducting a “full review of the costs and schedule of the Hinkley Point C project” and the results will be disclosed “soon”. On July 3, EDF announced that the estimated cost of the two Hinkley reactors has risen by €2.5 billion (to €23.2 billion, or €30.4 billion including finance costs). In 2007, EDF was boasting that Britons would be using electricity from Hinkley to cook their Christmas turkeys in December 2017. But in its latestannouncement, EDF pushes back the 2025 start-up dates for the two Hinkley reactors by 9‒15 months.

Oliver Tickell and Ian Fairlie wrote an obituary for Britain’s nuclear renaissance in The Ecologist on May 18. Theyconcluded: “[T]he prospects for new nuclear power in the UK have never been gloomier. The only way new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK is with massive political and financial commitment from government. That commitment is clearly absent. So yes, this finally looks like the end of the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’.”

Switzerland

Voters in Switzerland supported a May 21 referendum on a package of energy policy measures including a ban on new nuclear power reactors. Thus Switzerland has opted for a gradual nuclear phase out and all reactors will probably be closed by the early 2030s, if not earlier.

Germany will close its last reactor much sooner than Switzerland, in 2022.

Sweden

Unit 1 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden has been permanently shut down. Unit 2 at the same plant was permanently shut down in 2015. Ringhals 1 and 2 are expected to be shut down in 2019‒2020, after which Sweden will have just six operating power reactors. Switzerland, Germany and Taiwan have made deliberate decisions to phase out nuclear power; in Sweden, the phase out will be attritional.

Russia

Rosatom deputy general director Vyacheslav Pershukov said in mid-June that the world market for the construction of new nuclear power plants is shrinking, and the possibilities for building new large reactors abroad are almost exhausted. He said Rosatom expects to be able to find customers for new reactors until 2020‒2025 but “it will be hard to continue.”

China

With 36 power reactors and another 22 under construction, China is the only country with a significant nuclear expansion program. However nuclear growth could take a big hit in the event of economic downturn. And nuclear growth could be derailed by a serious accident, which is all the more likely because of China’s inadequate nuclear safety standards, inadequate regulation, lack of transparency, repression of whistleblowers, world’s worst insurance and liability arrangements, security risks, and widespread corruption.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, and editor of the World Information Service on Energy’s Nuclear Monitor newsletter.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, politics, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Taiwan govt yet to make a decision on costly mothballed fourth nuclear power plant

No plan yet on mothballed nuclear plant debts: Cabinet 2017/06/27 Taipei, June 27 (CNA) The government has yet to reach a conclusion about how to deal with Taiwan’s mothballed fourth nuclear power plant or the debts it incurred, said Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) on Tuesday.

While the government remains committed to phasing out nuclear energy and will not open the fourth nuclear power plant, what to do with it has yet to be decided, he said…..http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201706270016.aspx

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Chang Hsien-yi, the Taiwanese scientist who tried to save his country from nuclear war

The man who helped prevent a nuclear crisis, 18 May 2017  In 1988 Taiwan was racing to build its first nuclear bomb, but one military scientist put a stop to that when he defected to the United States and exposed those plans. This is the story of a man who insists he had to betray his country in order to save it.

To this day, critics consider Chang Hsien-yi a traitor – but he has no regrets. “If I can ever do it all over again, I will do it,” says the calmly defiant 73-year-old, speaking from his home in the US state of Idaho.

The former military colonel has been living there since 1988 when he fled to the US, a close ally of the island, and this is his first substantial interview about that time.

It might seem a perplexing turn of events given the close relationship the US has with Taiwan, but Washington had found out that Taiwan’s government had secretly ordered scientists to develop nuclear weapons.

Taiwan’s enemy, the Communist government of China, had been building up its nuclear arsenal since the 1960s, and the Taiwanese were terrified this would be unleashed on the island.

Taiwan separated from China after the Chinese Civil War in 1949. To this day China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has vowed to reunify with the island, by force if necessary.

The leadership of the island was also in an uncertain phase – its president, Chiang Ching-kuo, was dying, and the US thought that General Hau Pei-tsun, whom they saw as a hawkish figure, would become his successor.

They were worried about a nuclearisation of the Taiwan Strait and bent on stopping Taiwan’s nuclear ambition in its tracks and preventing a regional arms race.

So they secretly enlisted Mr Chang to halt Taiwan’s programme.  When Mr Chang was recruited by the CIA in the early 1980s, he was the deputy director at Taiwan’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, which was responsible for the nuclear weapons programme.  As one of Taiwan’s key nuclear scientists, he enjoyed a life of privilege and a lucrative salary.

But he says he began questioning whether the island should have nuclear weapons after the catastrophic Chernobyl accident in 1986 in the former Soviet Union. He was convinced by the Americans’ argument that stopping the programme would be “good for peace, and was for the benefit of mainland China and Taiwan”……..

Setting the record straight Mr Chang has remained silent for decades. But with his recent retirement he now wants to set the record straight with a memoir, titled Nuclear! Spy? CIA: Record of an Interview with Chang Hsien-yi.

The book, written with academic Chen Yi-shen and published in December, has reignited a debate about whether Mr Chang did the right thing for Taiwan……..

Mr Chang insists he feared then that ambitious Taiwanese politicians would use nuclear weapons to try to take back mainland China.

He claims Madame Chiang Kai Shek, the stepmother of dying President Chiang Ching-kuo, and a group of generals loyal to her had even gone so far as to set up a separate chain of command to expedite the development of nuclear weapons……

“You don’t have to be in Taiwan to love Taiwan; I love Taiwan,” says Mr Chang.

“I am Taiwanese, I am Chinese. I don’t want to see Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait killing each other.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39252502

May 19, 2017 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Taiwan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Thousands in Taiwan protest against nuclear power, demand low carbon sustainable energy

Taiwan protesters demand sustainable energy, nuclear power phase-out, San Diego Jewish World,  March 11, 2017 rom dpa German Press Agency Taipei (dpa) – Thousands of anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets across Taiwan on Saturday to urge the government to speed up steps to abandon nuclear power, find solutions to the problem of radioactive waste and develop more sustainable energy resources.

The demonstrations came as Japan marked the sixth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused a nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Protesters gathered Saturday in the capital, Taipei; in the port city of Kaohsiung in the south; and in Taitung City in the east.

Organizers said the protests included representatives from more than 200 non-governmental environmental groups, human rights groups, child welfare organisations and others.

On a square in Taipei in front of the office of Taiwanese President Tsai ing-wen, demonstrators waved signs that read, “No Nukes,” “Low Carbon” and “Sustainable Energy.”………http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2017/03/11/taiwan-protesters-demand-sustainable-energy-nuclear-power-phase-out/

March 13, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Taiwan govt reaffirms aim to phase out nuclear power by 2025

Cabinet reaffirms goal of phasing out nuclear power by 2025 http://focustaiwan.tw/news/ast/201703110010.aspx 2017/03/11 Taipei, March 11 (CNA) (By Yu Hsiao-han and Lee Hsin-Yin)
ENDITEM/AW/
Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) reiterated on Saturday that the government’s goal of phasing out nuclear power in Taiwan by 2025 remains unchanged, as protesters held anti-nuclear power rallies around the country.

Hsu said the government will brief the public about its plans later this month, including ways to increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources nationwide to 20 percent by 2025.

Other issues such as handling nuclear waste, upgrading to more efficient thermal power plants and steps to decommission the country’s three active nuclear power plants will also be addressed, added state-run utility Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) in a statement.

Hsu made the remarks as demonstrations were held in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taitung against the continued use of nuclear power in Taiwan on the sixth anniversary of an earthquake and tsunami in Japan that resulted in a nuclear incident that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the region around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The protesters demanded that the government move faster on its pledge to create a “nuclear power free homeland,” including the announcement of more concrete plans and a timetable.

In addition, the problem of air pollution should also be included as part of anti-nuclear policy as it has become a pressing health issue, said one of the rally organizers, the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform.

The Atomic Energy Council said it will complete its review by June of Taipower’s plan to phase out the No. 1 nuclear Power plant.

The council is also demanding Taipower too put forth its plans to decommission the second and third nuclear plower plants by 2018 and 2021, respectively.

March 13, 2017 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Fukushima anniversary anti nuclear march in Taiwan

Thousands expected to march to protest nuclear power today http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/03/11/2003666562 By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter The nation’s annual march against nuclear power plants is to be held today, with activists on Thursday calling for more openness and civic participation in crafting a nuclear waste disposal plan.

“We have to keep the pressure on the government, otherwise it will stall — our hope is that there should be a result by the conclusion of the Democratic Progressive Party’s [DPP] four years in power,” Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said while leading more than a dozen people in a protest outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

People plan to congregate on Ketagalan Boulevard this afternoon for the march, a major annual environmental demonstration.

“This will be our first march since the DPP took full control [of the government] and there are a lot of issues — from retiring nuclear reactors to transitioning to different forms of energy — where we feel there is a need for society to rigorously inspect whether the government has sufficient political resolve,” Tsuei said.

Tsuei added that nuclear waste disposal and energy taxes were key issues.

“Nuclear waste disposal cannot be something where Taiwan Power Co just makes a decision for itself,” Mom Loves Taiwan secretary-general Yang Shun-mei (楊順美) said, calling for open discussion of how waste is to be addressed, included the geology of proposed disposal sites.

“Statements the government has made about future energy prices have been extremely conservative and vague,” Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said, calling for the government to stop avoiding demands for an energy tax.

“The government should definitely be taking action and I trust that now is the time for the DPP to realize the promises it made before the election,” said DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), who represented the party’s legislative caucus in talks with the protesters.

He said the party is considering establishing a cross-party legislative committee to draft plans for the disposal of nuclear waste.

March 11, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment