Thousands of citizens took to the streets in Taiwanese capital Taipei on Saturday demanding the closure of atomic power plants and more citizen involvement in decisions on radioactive waste storage. More than 60 anti-nuclear civil society groups rallied to demand greater openness and civic participation in managing nuclear waste, and advocated a move towards more sustainable forms of energy, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin told the media. Indigenous groups from Orchid Island also took part in the demonstration outside the Presidential Palace with placards calling for the removal of nuclear waste from the island nation, Efe news reported.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs responded by promising to comply with a plan to decommission its four nuclear plants and make Taiwan “nuclear-free” by 2025, in addition to using renewable sources for 20 per cent of its power needs. In a press release on Saturday, the ministry said the movement towards non-nuclear sustainable energy and lower carbon dioxide emissions has been stepped up, and announced a two-year and a four-year plan to boost photovoltaic and wind energy, respectively.In 2016, renewable energy in Taiwan accounted for just 4.8 per cent of its power needs, but the ministry hopes that by 2025 that figure will rise to 20 per cent, while natural gas will account for 50 per cent and coal 30 per cent.
Currently, approximately 78 per cent of Taiwan’s power comes from coal, a little over 8 per cent from nuclear, and some 5 percent from renewable sources, according to various industry and official agencies. The island nation’s three active nuclear plants – with six reactors – can supply 5,200 megawatts, accounting for 8.1 per cent of total consumption, and 19 per cent of total electricity generation.