Friday, 25 March 2011

Taipei Calling

"Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential contender Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) released her first major policy initiative yesterday, saying she intended to phase out operations of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant."
I knew it was only a matter of time before one of the DPP candidates would start making noises like this. Perhaps I was overly-optimistic when I said in my piece against Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) the other day:
"The importance of people like Pan is not that the policies he advocates will be implemented in the short term, but that they begin to acquire the lustre of ideological popularity - which will of course draw political power like moths to a flame."
However, there is still some reason to be doubtful that, if elected, Tsai would actually abolish construction of the fourth plant in Longmen - not least because the considerably large sums of money involved would still need to be paid anyway and additional money would have to be found on top of that for renewable power stations elsewhere in order to avoid the risk of blackouts.

From the same piece:
"Statistics from the Bureau of Energy show that Taiwan’s three operational nuclear power plants last year generated about 19.3 percent of the nation’s energy. Tsai said this number could be offset by generating more renewable energy, increasing efficiency of current coal-fired plants and building new natural gas plants."
New natural gas plants may well offer a decent FROI but, like the renewables, a lot of them would have to be built thus increasing the scope of their environmental and socio-political impact (read: land-theft) in comparison to a nuke, and they bring with them their own risks chiefly concerning the importation and transportation of gas.

Elsewhere, in the Ko Shu-Ling piece criticized in the post below:
"Shih Shin-min (施信民), a professor of chemical engineering at National Taiwan University, said Taiwan had a chance to become a nuclear-free country. “It is all about political will,” he said... Taiwan would have no problem producing 1GW with solar energy."
Another thing about this "debate" which I despise is the presumption that just because someone like Shih Shin-min (施信民) is a professor in a scientific-technical field at NTU, he must therefore be competent to pontificate on the obviously political but ultimately ethical questions of who gets to build what forms of industrial energy production, on whose land and at whose cost. In fact, none of these questions is even made salient in this sort of article since the premise is automatically granted that Taiwan Power should be building whatever the government demands of them at whatever violation of whomsoever's property rights and largely at taxpayer's expense. It's simply outrageous. Attend to the moral collectivism inherent in that sentence from Shih Shin-min (施信民):
"Taiwan would have no problem producing 1GW with solar energy."
This is exactly why that man's opinions should be disqualified as rotten commie gibberish by any morally decent person. Look: "Taiwan" is not a person, and to speak in such a manner is a cheap rhetorical ploy to hide the forced collectivization of human lives and values. The salient political question here is not simply whether enough solar plants can be built to produce 1 Gig, but at what cost to whom? I'll say this right now: the children of Taiwan's farmers up and down the west coast better start thinking about another line of business. When the farmers in Miaoli County had their land stolen by the government last year, I wrote this:
"Such abject violations of private property arise, not because the democratic form within which government power sits has been too roughly sculpted, but because the political culture which shapes modern politics continues to try to weave together two incompatible ideological premises - the individualism predicated upon the principle that property be privately owned, and the violent subjugation of some individuals to the interests of particular others which will be falsely proclaimed as collective interests - this is the essence of government power, democratic or not. Ain't no third way."
Anybody care to bet against me having to quote this passage again and again in the future?

Oh, and I forgot to mention there was a very short piece in the business section containing snippets of an interview with Edward Chen (陳貴明), the chairman of Taiwan Power, attempting to defend the nuclear industry.

It should have been on the front page...
"Forget it brother, you can go it alone!"

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