Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arms Control Wonk: Nuclear Pact Renewal for Taiwan (and other nuke stuff)

Arms Control Wonk had an excellent post last week on the US effort to get Taiwan to sign onto the non-proliferation treaty....
A few people in Washington are pumping up the forthcoming renewal of the U.S. bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with Taiwan as an impending shot in the arm for the no-enrichment/no-reprocessing “gold standard” they want to see implemented by the U.S. in all future 123 agreements following the conclusion of the U.S.-UAE agreement in 2009.

Nowhere in the world does the U.S. government have as much leverage over a foreign country’s  nuclear activities as it does in Taiwan. Taiwan therefore does not serve as a model for global application of the “gold standard,” regardless of what some pundits had to say in this piece that Elaine Grossman published a couple of days ago. I saw the article just after returning to Europe from Chicago yesterday. (By coincidence, it would appear that Elaine reported it out while I was grocery-shopping and dining here in Elaine’s hometown of Cleveland last week.)
If the U.S.-Taiwan agreement isn’t renewed, it will expire in 2014. I’m highly confident, however, that it will be renewed, and that Taiwan will continue to embrace a policy of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without enriching uranium or reprocessing its not-insignificant inventory of spent power-reactor fuel.
But Taiwan’s resolve not to enrich or reprocess has nothing to do with the “gold standard” and nearly everything to do with U.S. leverage over Taiwan’s security arrangements (a somewhat watered-down argument might also be made for the UAE).
The bottom line is that any forthcoming decision by Taiwan and the U.S. to adopt the language of the UAE 123 agreement on reprocessing or enrichment in a new 123 agreement will more or less reiterate a very firm bilateral understanding reached long ago by Taiwan and the U.S. that Taiwan will not enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel. For over 40 years, the U.S. has been rigorously enforcing that understanding.
Taiwan’s current 123 agreement–as the U.S. government e-mail traffic referred to in Elaine’s article correctly suggests–does not categorically exclude reprocessing and enrichment by Taiwan. Since the 1970s, the U.S. has been party to a bilateral 123 agreement with Taiwan (which says the U.S. has prior consent rights over the “alteration” of nuclear material by Taiwan), to a trilateral safeguards agreement with Taiwan and the IAEA (Infcirc/158), and to a bilateral safeguards agreement. This 1980 U.S. government non-paper spells out that U.S. rights over Taiwan’s nuclear activities are indeed so extensive that the U.S. could instruct the German government that any nuclear items supplied to Taiwan by a German exporter would be subject to U.S. “control rights,” which included U.S. “fallback safeguards rights” if deemed necessary.  Beyond this, I’m told that there is a bilateral understanding–which may not be public–that enrichment and reprocessing by Taiwan are categorically off the table.
During the 1970s, the U.S. confirmed that Taiwan had been involved on several occasions in undeclared and unreported nuclear R and D activities. Whenever that happened–the last case I know about was in the mid-1990s, when Taiwan processed some uranium- and thorium-bearing sands–officials from U.S. DOE and State arrived quickly on the scene and were rubbernecking around installations on Taiwan, including locations which Taiwan never declared to the IAEA under Taiwan’s IAEA safeguards agreements. The impression I have from people who have been close to U.S. “safeguards visits” in Taiwan on such occasions is that the U.S. has access to Taiwan’s nuclear program close to what UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors had in Iraq beginning in 1991. From the perspective of routine international nuclear diplomacy, U.S.-Taiwan relations in this area are clearly not routine.
Taiwan’s civilian nuclear program was launched decades ago by the KMT leadership under circumstances which, to put it mildly, didn’t exactly encourage political participation by Taiwan’s indigenous population. Since 2000, when the DPP won a national election and took power for the first time, the KMT’s legacy has threatened Taiwan’s nuclear power program and, in the wake of Fukushima, might ultimately prove fatal to it. The DPP has adopted an antinuclear plank in its platform, and since the accident in Japan, DPP politicians have been fanning the flames. So it isn’t a surprise that right now, Taiwan government officials want to quickly and without fanfare close on the terms of a new 123 agreement with the U.S. Given Taiwan’s historical dependence upon technology, equipment, and nuclear fuel from the U.S., the absence of a new bilateral agreement in 2014 w0uld halt Taiwan’s nuclear program in its tracks.
This post discusses how the US killed the KMT's nuke weapon program in the 1970s.

Also, this appeared in my inbox last week....
Staunch Public Opposition Won’t Drive Taiwan from its Nuclear Path

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 24 July 2012 - Despite facing hostility from the public and figures within its own government, Taiwan will continue plans to increase its nuclear power capacity over the next few years, says a new report by energy experts GlobalData.

According to the report*, Taiwan is set to boost its nuclear capacity from 5,190 Megawatts (MW) in 2011 to 7,790 MW by the end of 2015, following the introduction of the controversial Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant located in the north of the country. Units 1 and 2 are set to be operational by 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The plant’s planned construction has been met with discord from a large section of the country’s population and has already been delayed for political reasons. There have also been several public protests, the most recent of which occurred two weeks ago at the Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival – only three kilometres from the provocative site.

Despite such adverse sentiment across the country, a growing demand for electricity and a need to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets has prompted the Taiwanese government to push on with the Lungmen plant construction.

Power consumption in Taiwan is expected to increase at an Annual Average Growth Rate (AAGR) of 2.3% from 2012 to 2025, and as a massive 99% of the country’s energy requirements are met by imports, an increase in nuclear power can reduced national energy expenditure.

In 2005, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) expressed its plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 170m metric tons annually by 2025, and as about 62% of Taiwan’s carbon dioxide emissions are a result of energy production, switching to more environmentally friendly methods of power generation such as nuclear power could help the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The total installed capacity of Taiwan is 48,092 MW, generating around 245 billion kWh of electricity per year as of 2010.
Finally, Daren Township in Taitung was officially declared one of two candidate locations for a nuke waste dump. Because no place is so beautiful that it can't use some nuclear waste! Daren has less than 4,000 inhabitants..... below is pic of document.... the other site is in Kinmen. Daren is located south of Taitung city, where Hwys 9 and 26 split.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Food Prices after the Typhoon (if it destroys fresh vegetables) = Shop at Costco..