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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

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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

Taiwan revises law to become nuclear-free society by 2025

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Operations of two reactors at the No. 4 nuclear power plant in New Taipei City have been put on hold.

TAIPEI–Taiwan enacted a revised law on Jan. 11 to phase out nuclear power generation by 2025 and increase renewables, a considerable challenge for this resource-poor island.

Departure from nuclear power was a campaign pledge of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who assumed office in May.

The bill met with no strong opposition during deliberations at the Legislative Yuan, or the Taiwanese parliament.

The legislation aims to raise the share of renewables, such as solar or wind power, from the current 4 percent to 20 percent of total output in 2025 by liberalizing the renewable energy market.

Electricity generated at three nuclear power stations account for about 14 percent of Taiwan’s electricity output. Operations have been frozen at a fourth nuclear power plant because of public outcry against nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The industrial sector and others have raised concerns about possible fluctuations in the power supply or a spike in utility rates in the coming years.

Another focal point of debate was disposal of radioactive waste kept at a facility in an outlying island.

The Executive Yuan, the equivalent of Japan’s Cabinet, sponsored the bill to revise the electricity utilities industry law to pave the way for a nuclear-free society.

Under the revised law, Taiwan Power Co., operator of all nuclear power plants in Taiwan, will be spun off into two companies: one in charge of power generation and the other overseeing electricity distribution.

All six reactors in Taiwan will reach their 40-year operation limit by May 2025. The No. 1 reactor at the No. 1 nuclear power plant will be the first to hit the limit, in December 2018.

The revised law ruled out the possibility of extending the lives of the reactors, stating that all reactors will end their operations by 2025.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701120036.html

 

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Taiwan | | Leave a comment

Taiwan will end nuclear power generation by 2025

flag-TaiwanTaiwan to end nuclear power generation by 2025 http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20170112VL201.html  Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Thursday 12 January 2017]

Taiwan’s legislature has amended the Electricity Act, ending nuclear power generation in the country by 2025 and liberalizing the local electricity market.

Taiwan currently has three operational nuclear power plants.

The amendments stipulate the state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) go private and separate its business operations into independent electricity generation, distribution and sale business units in six to nine years.

The revamped law also gives renewable energy priority to go on grid and allows its direct sale from generators to users. Currently all electricity must be sold through Taipower.

The Taiwan government will establish an electricity price stabilization fund to prevent drastic fluctuations in electricity price.

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

‘Nuke food’ already here

FDA announced a national recall of a fermented soybean product on Sunday, after discovering that the product included a package of soy sauce originating from a “radiation-affected” region of Japan.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a national recall of a fermented soybean product on Sunday, after discovering that the product included a small package of soy sauce originating from a radiation-affected region of Japan.

Radiation detection tests conducted by the Atomic Energy Council showed that the soy sauce had not been contaminated by nuclear substances, the FDA said.

But the discovery of the Ibaraki-sourced soy sauce had caught authorities off guard, highlighting a loophole in Taiwan’s five-year ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures.

Food products from Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures are banned over fears they may be contaminated with radioactive substances, following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

During a press conference on Sunday, FDA officials said they had asked all national retailers to recall products containing the soy sauce as a preventative measure. Any business that chose to keep the product in the market would be subject to a maximum NT$3 million penalty, health authorities said.

Officials said the soy sauce had been sold by food importer Taicrown Corporation (太冠國際) to downstream distributors including Japanese restaurant chain Yoshinoya, RT-Mart, shopping malls SOGO, Shinkong Mitsukoshi and Far Eastern.

The recalled fermented soybean product, called natto, had been manufactured by a Japanese company called KAJINOYA, FDA official Wu Ming-mei (吳明美) said.

Wu said the importer was in the process of collecting related information and would provide further details to the FDA before 5 p.m. on Monday.

According to media, Yoshinoya said its supplier provided safety certification for its imports, but that it had decided to pull the product from their menus regardless.

SOGO and Shinkong Mitsukoshi both said Taicrown Corporation had yet to offer any explanations and both offered refunds to customers that had purchased the product.

RT-Mart also issued a statement Sunday, stressing it had removed the natto product from its shelves last Friday after finding it suspicious during internal product inspections earlier that day.

Five other natto products imported by Taicrown have also been removed, and customers may receive refunds if they have any concerns, said RT-Mart.

The current administration is planning to gradually relax restrictions on Japanese food imports from the Fukushima nuclear disaster zones, but faced violent protests at public hearings last month.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/detail.asp?id=486491&grp=%27B%27

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | 1 Comment

Taiwan: Food products from Japanese areas are not on sale

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Food products from Japanese areas are not on sale: agency

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday rejected as rumors claims that food products produced in Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant can be purchased in Taiwan, urging the public not to buy food products without Chinese-language labels.

The Council of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Welfare last month presented a two-stage plan to ease a ban on food imports, which was imposed in March 2011, from five Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Taichung City Councilor Tuan Wei-yu (段緯宇) last week said that wine and snacks from the five prefectures could be purchased at department stores.

However, the Taichung Department of Health said that alcoholic products from the five prefectures can be imported if they have passed batch-by-batch radiation examinations, while the snacks Tuan used as examples were made in other prefectures.

One rumor that has recently spread across social networks claims that Japanese food products labeled as being made in Tokyo that have a “K” appended to the expiration date on their packaging are actually from Fukushima Prefecture.

The administration issued a statement clarifying that letters appended to expiration dates are in fact codes representing different areas for different food companies.

Consumers can check Japanese companies’ official Web sites to verify where products were made, the agency said, adding that, for example, an “A” appended to the expiration date on the packaging of products by Nissin Foods means they were made in Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The administration urged people to only buy food products with Chinese-language labels, not believe everything they read online — especially information without reliable sources of scientific evidence — and avoid spreading false information.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2016/12/04/2003660555

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Food Ban in Taiwan Continued

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Taiwan-Japan trade talks conclude with signing of two memorandums

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Annual trade and economic talks between Taiwan and Japan concluded in Taipei Wednesday, with the two sides signing two cooperation memorandums on product safety and language education.

Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), head of the Taiwan delegation and president of the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR), and his Japanese counterpart, Japan Interchange Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi, signed the notes stipulating that the two countries will work together in the promotion of exchanges in the two areas.

Chiou and Ohashi left the venue without speaking to the press after the signing ceremony, but they agreed to be photographed.

Outside the venue, several dozen activists staged a protest against radiation-contaminated food products. The protest came after Ohashi urged Taiwan at the opening of the annual talks a day earlier to lift a ban on food products from five radiation-affected Japanese prefectures.

Asked if Japan had asked Taiwan to ease the ban during the two-day trade and economic meeting, AEAR Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Wei-kan (蔡偉淦) confirmed in a press conference held after the event that the Japanese side brought up the request, as had been expected.

However, the Taiwanese delegates expressed hope for understanding that there are still disputes over the issue, and that they would not discuss the issue during the annual talks, since it was not on the agenda, Tsai said.

Taiwan has banned imports of food products from five prefectures in Japan — Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi — that were contaminated with radiation following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, a catastrophe triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

After Taiwan’s new government, inaugurated in May, revealed recently that it was considering lifting the ban on food from all of those prefectures except Fukushima, the idea has received strong opposition.

Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung (李世光) confirmed Wednesday that the controversial issue of Japanese food imports was not on the agenda of the 41st Taiwan-Japan Trade and Economic Meeting.

“It has been the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ consistent stance that no compromise can be made in the people’s welfare in the area of food safety,” Lee told the press.

He also agreed that all food regulations should meet international regulations and scientific rules.

Meanwhile, elaborating upon what was discussed during the meeting, Tsai said that Taiwan, as usual, asked Japan to co-sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA).

Such a pact is not just one that touches on simply economic problems, Tsai said, but involves political considerations.

Nevertheless, the Japanese side said its stance in establishing a comprehensive trade and investment relationship with Taiwan has not changed, he went on.

As for a request by Taiwan for Japan to open its doors to five more kinds of Taiwan-grown fruit, Tsai said the Japanese side requires more data and relevant documents.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Liu Ming-tang (劉明堂), head of the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, said the cooperation memorandum on product safety mainly focuses on electronic and electrical products, as well as machinery.

It will help reduce safety risks, allowing consumers to enjoy a higher level of safety protection, Liu said.

On the language education memorandum, the Taiwanese delegation said that under the pact, personnel exchanges will be conducted in the hope of upgrading the quality of language and culture education on both sides.

The Taiwan-Japan trade and economic meeting has been the only official platform for Taiwanese and Japanese officials to discuss issues of mutual concern since diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed in 1972. It has been held annually since 1976.

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201611300017.aspx

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Continued Protest Against Food Imports from Japan

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Hundreds protest Fukushima imports

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hundreds on Thursday called for the president and premier to resign, accusing the ruling party of “selling out Taiwan” and “poisoning our children” in its push to ease a ban on food imports from Japan’s radiation-affected regions.

Protesters organized by the Kuomintang (KMT) demonstrated in front of the Executive Yuan early Thursday, as party councilors from across the country took turns addressing the crowd.

“We are humans, and humans don’t eat radiation-contaminated food,” the crowd chanted with Tainan City Councilor Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介), who accused that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of betraying its promise to safeguard Taiwan’s food safety.

“We all remember clearly which party strongly protested against nuclear power in the past, but who’s about to feed poisonous food to our children now!” Hsieh said.

Taipei City Councilor Wang Hsin-yi (王欣儀) said the protest was not about political issues but was instead “a matter of life and death.”

Taipei City Councilor Ying Hsiao-wei (應曉薇) introduced a 3-year-old girl carried by an elderly woman, and urged the crowd to “fight the government to defend public health.”

Clash with Police

Hsieh asked police officers to “give way” to protesters so they could enter the Executive Yuan and submit their petition to the premier.

When the police stood their ground, demonstrators attempted to storm the grounds.

The clash ended after Hsu Fu (許輔), director of the Cabinet’s food safety office, stepped outside the Executive Yuan to receive the protesters’ petition and then invited KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) and Chen Yi-ming (陳宜民) into the building for talks.

‘No contaminated food’

“No radiation-contaminated food products will be allowed into the nation,” according to a Cabinet press statement released Friday afternoon.

The Cabinet stated that it would take protesters’ concerns into account and reinstate its “four-noes policy” on Japanese food imports.

It said all products from the Fukushima Prefecture would continue to be prohibited from entering Taiwan’s borders.

Food products from Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Chiba — four of the five prefectures affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster — that are at high risk of absorbing radiation would also remain banned.

Those with a lower risk of radiation contamination would also stay banned if they did not have a certificate confirming state of origin and radiation levels.

Food products still banned by the U.S. and the Japanese government would also remain banned from Taiwan.

An earthquake and tsunami had triggered meltdowns of nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.

Dozens of countries worldwide imposed sanctions or tightened restrictions on food imports produced in the regions around Fukushima Prefecture.

Starting 2015, the European Union and the U.S. gradually lifted the bans as Tokyo continued to urge the move on grounds of fair international trade.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/11/19/484392/Hundreds-protest.htm

Government communication on Japanese food is a failure: Luis Ko

The issue of allowing the import of food products from parts of Japan affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has triggered a spate of conflicts and quarrels in Taiwan. Apart from opposition parties and social groups including physicians, even Democratic Progressive Party city mayors and county magistrates have been sending out mixed signals. The uproar has even made the model student in the matter of food safety, I-Mei Foods Co. CEO Luis Ko, shake his head. On November 19, he wrote on his Facebook page that the government should plan first and move later, and not create needless public dissatisfaction and unease.

Because several countries recently gradually lifted import restrictions on products from the disaster-stricken areas, Taiwan could soon follow suit and allow the import of some products from Fukushima prefecture and from four other prefectures (Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba). The government organized public hearings on the matter which were criticized as haphazard. Earlier this week, 15 county and city chiefs from ruling and opposition parties voiced their opposition and said they did not agree with the import of the food. However, after the Presidential Office and the Executive Yuan contacted the 13 DPP mayors and magistrates, they altered their stance and said they agreed with the central government, saying that what they opposed was food imported from Fukushima prefecture.

On November 19, I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko wrote on his Facebook page that he felt surprise and concern at the government’s current handling of its food safety policy. He wondered why the government departments and officials in charge of agricultural produce and foodstuffs were the ones to stand at the forefront of the discussions with the public, and why the officials at the Ministry of Health and Welfare and at the Food and Drug Administration, who have usually made brave statements about food safety issues, only played a “supporting role.” He said the government had failed in its internal communication and integration. “Major problems have arisen with the functioning of the government team!”

Luis Ko also says the fact that the new government has failed to successfully execute several policies over the past six months as a result of insufficient internal “communication and integration” and of being unable to “plan first and move later.” He concluded by calling on the president and the premier to bear in mind the profound hopes of the people and to show the ability to reflect.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3033853

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | 1 Comment

Constant Taiwanese Opposition to Japan Contaminated Food Imports

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Keelung city council member Lu Mei-ling appeared with zombie makeup applied to her face

Keelung councilwoman paints face like zombie to protest ‘radioactive’ Japanese food Wearing makeup to appear like a zombie covered in radiation burns, Keelung councilwoman protests lifting of ban on imported Japanese food

At a city council budget review meeting in Keelung City on Thursday, council member Lu Mei-ling appeared with zombie makeup applied to her face to dramatize her concerns about the proposal to allow the import of food from radiation-affected areas of Japan.

Lu claimed if she ate radioactive food products for three months, her skin would start to look like the zombie makeup on her face and her bone marrow would contain large amounts of radiation, with no way to expel it from her body.  She also questioned the health bureau for not having plans on educating the public about protecting themselves from this danger.

Lu said just thinking about a nuclear disaster makes her loose sleep at night, “I’m really afraid, just thinking about it makes me tremble, this isn’t serious?”

A group of 19 Keelung City Council members from across the political spectrum held a press conference at noon. Lead by Council Speaker Sung Wei-li (宋瑋莉), the councilors shouted “don’t eat or buy” and “no nukes, protect Taiwan.” Meanwhile 20 members of the council signed a joint statement asking Keelung Mayor Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) to “add a ban on the importation of foods from radiation-affected prefectures of Japan to The Keelung City Food Safety Regulations.”

Three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 suffered meltdowns after sustaining damage from a magnitute 9.0 earthquake and flooding by a subsequent 13-to-15-meter tsunami. Four of the plant’s six reactors released radiation into the atmosphere and ocean, prompting many countries around the world, including Taiwan, to ban imports of food products from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, for fear of radioactive contamination. 

Taiwan’s government is now considering lifting the ban on food imports from four prefectures, and though Fukushima has been excluded from this list, the measure is still facing stiff opposition with protesters paralyzing 10 public hearings held by the Cabinet over the weekend on the issue. 

The Cabinet is mulling a gradual lifting of the ban in two phases. The first phase would keep the ban on Fukushima, while lifting the ban on Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures on the condition of batch-by-batch inspection and the exclusion of high-risk products, such as baby milk powder, drinking water, and tea products. A yet-to-be-announced second phase could take place six months later. 

An analysis by Colorado State University showed that after taking 900,000 samples of food produced in Fukushima over the course of three years, found that radiation levels in the vast majority of the samples were below Japan’s limits, the strictest in the world. As for the safety seafood, a study released by the National Academy of Sciences in February 2016 said “the overall contamination risk for aquatic food items is very low” and has steadily decreased since the reactor meltdowns in 2011. 

Many Japanese organizations have been pressing President Tsai Ying-wen to lift the ban on food products since she took office in May. Taiwan and China are reportedly the only countries still banning food from the five Japanese prefectures surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3032954

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment