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Taiwan's Presidential Debate: The Nuclear Energy Paradox Amid Climate Change Concerns

Taiwan's presidential candidates debate over the role of nuclear energy in addressing climate change and ensuring grid stability, as the nation aims to transition to green energy and achieve nuclear-free status by 2025.

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Rafia Tasleem
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Taiwan's Presidential Debate: The Nuclear Energy Paradox Amid Climate Change Concerns

In a recent televised presentation of presidential candidates' policies, Taiwan found itself in the midst of a heated debate over the role of nuclear energy in addressing climate change and ensuring grid stability. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominee and current Vice President, Lai Ching-te, staunchly defended the DPP's efforts to transition Taiwan to green energy and achieve a nuclear-free status by 2025.

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Green Energy Supersedes Nuclear Power

Lai cited that green energy now accounts for 10% of Taiwan's electricity, a figure that overpowers nuclear power's 5% contribution. He highlighted the expansion of green energy, collaboration with the private sector for energy storage investment, and the establishment of smart grids to enhance the resilience of the power supply.

Criticism Over DPP's Power Mix Goal

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Despite these progressive efforts, the DPP's power mix goal of 20% renewable energy, 50% natural gas, and 30% coal by 2025 has come under fire. Critics argue that this strategy relies too heavily on fossil fuels, potentially thwarting carbon reduction efforts. Previous power outages have raised questions about grid reliability as Taiwan transitions away from its nuclear plants.

Opposing Voices in the Debate

Taiwan People's Party nominee Ko Wen-je criticized the DPP for lacking a comprehensive energy transition plan and suggested corruption in wind and solar developments. He proposed postponing the decommissioning of two nuclear power plants and revisiting the mothballed Nuclear Power Plant 4. Ko made a case for a more pragmatic approach to nuclear energy, in line with global trends. Similarly, the Kuomintang (KMT) nominee Hou Yu-ih challenged the DPP's policy, stating that it contradicts global trends to increase nuclear capacity for net-zero emissions by 2050. Hou also pointed out health risks from the DPP's reliance on coal, as evidenced by rising lung cancer cases, and lagging carbon reduction accomplishments.

The debate underscores the complexities and challenges surrounding Taiwan's energy policies. As Taiwan moves forward, it will need to balance its environmental goals with the realities of maintaining a stable and reliable power grid. The outcome of the presidential election will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping Taiwan's future energy landscape.

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