Massive blackout revives nuclear energy discussions in Taiwan

A blackout which affected around 6.6 million homes and businesses in Taiwan last week has revived discussions around nuclear energy. It was caused by a blunder at the nation’s biggest […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A blackout which affected around 6.6 million homes and businesses in Taiwan last week has revived discussions around nuclear energy.

It was caused by a blunder at the nation’s biggest gas-fired power plant on 15th August, following which Economy Minister Chih-Kung Lee resigned.

The incident at CPC Corporation’s Tatan power plant, which accounts for almost 9% of the island’s generation capacity, is said to have been caused by “structural problems” and human error involving the replacement of equipment.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) said nuclear energy would be “better than blackouts” as the Taiwanese Government’s policy aims to phase out the energy source by 2025.

It adds the government is using existing reactors “as little as possible”, with three offline due to political blocking and another two-unit plant forbidden from starting up.

WNA Director General Agneta Rising said “Blackouts clearly pose far greater safety risks to the people of Taiwan than the responsible use of nuclear energy. A modern society depends upon a reliable supply of electricity.

“The Taiwanese Government should look at the best available data on the impacts of different energy sources in determining a sustainable mix. It’s clear that nuclear energy has the best safety record of any major form of electricity generation.”

Analysts believe the government may be forced to reconsider its nuclear policy following the incident.