The Development of Nuclear Energy in Taiwan

Jie Zhao
February 25, 2015

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2015

Energy in Taiwan

Fig. 1: Lungmen nuclear power plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Taiwan has very limited energy resources. Over 97% of its energy supply comes from imported fossil fuels. [1] The energy consumption of Taiwan has increased substantially in recent years. The carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 accounted for 0.9% of global emissions, placing Taiwan 27th on the global list. [2] In order to secure national energy supply and protect the environment, the development of nuclear energy and other renewable energy is necessary.

Nuclear Energy in Taiwan

Taiwan has three active nuclear plants and 6 nuclear reactors, providing 17 percent of the electricity generated in Taiwan. [3,4] Construction of the first unit began in 1972. They are all operated by the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), and are expected to have 40-year lifetimes. Since the existing three nuclear plants will be decommissioned around 2020, the construction of the fourth nuclear plant (the Lungmen nuclear power plant) began in 1999. [5] The Lungmen nuclear power plant (Fig. 1) consists of two advanced boiling water reactors, each of 1300 MWe net. Because of safety concerns and challenges in finding repository sites for nuclear waste disposal, Taiwanese are urging the government to stop building the Lungmen Nuclear Power Station. Therefore, the construction is suspended in 2014.

Fig. 2: Taiwanese hand in hand against the 4th Nuclear Power Plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan renewed the debate on the safety of nuclear power, which hurts the role of nuclear power in efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions. After the accident, nuclear fears especially in Taiwan accelerate. In 2014, more than 130000 Taiwanese marched for anti-nuclear, and they claimed if a nuclear crisis were to happen in Taiwan, it would destroy the nation. [6] As Fig. 2 shows, Taiwanese is hand in hand on the street to against the 4th Nuclear Power Plant. Due to the huge pressure, the Taiwan government agreed to halt the construction of the Lungmen power plant in New Taipei. Therefore, alternative renewable energy should be considered. Wind energy, solar thermal energy, and photovoltaics are the most promising renewable energy sources in Taiwan, due to Taiwan's geographical characteristics and technological advantages. [7] However, these renewable energy industries in Taiwan are still in their early stage and could not fill the void left by nuclear power now. Therefore, to enhance nuclear safety by developing advanced technology and develop alternative renewable energy at the same time might be a better choice.

© Jie Zhao. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] C. F. Chuang and H. P. Chou, "Investigation of Potential Operation Issues of Human-System Interface in Lungmen Nuclear Power Project," IEEE Transactions on Nucl. Sci. 52, 1004 (2005).

[2] T.-C. Pan, J.-K. Kao, and C.-P. Wong, "Effective Solar Radiation Based Benefit and cost Analyses for Solar Water Heater development in Taiwan," Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 16, 1874 (2012).

[3] B. Ou, "Taiwan's Nuclear Beach," PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2011.

[4] H.-C. Huang and T.-W. Wang, "Determinants and Mapping of Collective Perceptions of Technological Risk: The Case of the Second Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan," Risk Anal. 31, 668, (2011).

[5] Y.-H. Chen, "Non-Nuclear, Low-Carbon, or Both? The Case of Taiwan," Energ. Econ. 39, 53 (2013).

[6] A. Hsiao, "Nuclear Power Debate: KMT Touts Gongliao 'Refrigeration'," Taipai Times, 26 Apr 14.

[7] H.-H. Chen and A. H. I. Lee "Comprehensive Overview of Renewable Energy Development in Taiwan," Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 37, 215 (2014).