Sunday, April 27, 2014

MASSIVE BREAKING Ma announces halt to Fourth Nuclear Plant Construction

It ain't over til the fat lady sings, but for now, the Ma gov't has taken another one on the chin. Yesterday thousands rallied in Taipei against the backdrop of longtime democracy activist Lin I-hsiung's hunger strike to end construction of this plant. The fifth day in, the Ma Administration threw in the towel and announced that it was halting construction of the plant. Lin I-hsiung could not be permitted to die.

We went through this a couple of years ago when the Ma Administration terminated that horror that was the naptha cracker down in Changhua, blaming the environmentalists. The project searched for another spot in Taiwan, then finally moved overseas. I suspect the Administration will struggle to breathe life back into it. Indeed, a keen observer of local affairs pointed out that apparently, the administration's inner circle made the decision without informing its own legislative caucus, [update: caucus leader was present] which it is at odds with since trying to force through that horror of a services pact, which probably has less public support than that nuclear time bomb it is building just east of Taipei. Taipower was quick to denounce the decision, saying it would need to somehow be shielded from bankruptcy.

Let's also recall, as an especially keen observer noted, that when Chen Shui-bian called a halt to construction, the KMT was quick to scream that it was unconstitutional. I expect Ma will say his hands are tied and they have to finish. The Constitution, you know.

A couple of other observations were made. First, the announcement was made by a KMT Party spokesman, not a government spokesman. Second, the decision was made without democratic input. When it is all said and done, the KMT believes itself to be in Taiwan but not of it, and in Taiwan's democracy, but not of it. To the mainlander core, it is always Party-State time.

But let's savor this. The Ma Administration has taken a savage and totally unnecessary beating, dating back -- anyone remember it? -- to the surprising 2009 referendum on Penghu, which I and everyone else thought would end in passage of a referendum authorizing casinos on the islands, but instead was defeated. The KMT even tinkered with the referendum law in an attempt to get that passed. Since then the Administration has slid slowly off the cliff. A triplet of wounds: Ma's attempt to get rid of Wang Jin-pyng, the occupation of the legislature, and now the shuttering of construction on the Fourth Nuclear Plant.

Perhaps this was done with the November elections in mind. Perhaps it will be reversed. But it really doesn't matter. Tonight it tastes like victory. And let's not forget two other victories that occurred recently. The High Court invalidated a portion of the Parade and Assembly Law, an authoritarian leftover. That was a victory of the Wild Strawberries and the professors who led them. And just this week the construction-industrial state took a blow as the Council of Grand Justices invalidated several clauses of the urban renewal act, halting up to 90 land thefts by big developers urban renewal projects. The youth activists were involved in that case as well, taking up the cause of the family who eventually took this case as far as it could go.

But: here's a reminder from J Michael that the struggle goes on. This time, over trees....
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Jerome Besson said...

Quote: "KMT believes itself to be in Taiwan but not of it."

Let us remember that GMD is an exiled rebel faction involved in a power struggle in China. As such, it remains "KMT ON Taiwan" but not of it. And so goes for the "DPP OF China ON Taiwan".

Jerome Besson said...

Closer and closer, the nationalists on both sides of the strait come to making an outright claim to Okinawa.

Rrrright! Ho-hum. why are representatives of the Chiang dynasty recorded for having paid tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine in the 1950's?

Carlos said...

Honestly, I prefer the nuclear power plants to the giant coal plant in Taichung (though the latter provides twice as much power as this one would have). And if Taiwan were to reduce its use of nuclear power, I'd do it by opening the Fourth and closing one or two of the older ones.

Anonymous said...

Ma also has the Typhoon Morakot disaster on this hands + having his accountant sent to jail to take the blame for his receipt theft.

Re: KMT Twitter - good one ~ lots of creativity there!

Re: KMT letter on Okinawa - what a joke. How can anyone take the KMT seriously?

Anonymous said...

You're right these scandals are snowballing...I'd say the starting point was the Lin Yi-shih trial taking away the "clean government" mystique.

Mike Fagan said...

"...the struggle goes on. This time, over trees...."

The trees are not really the issue, the issue is the intimidation tactic of organized stalking, which has recent history in the U.S. (e.g. Patrick Knowlton) as well as in China. Added to that there is the apparent acquiescence of the police to the demands of gangsters, with the latter being allowed to get away with whatever they want and the cops standing around doing fuck all.

TaiwanJunkie said...

but visits to Yasukuni Shrine back in the 1950's were irrelevant, the war criminals were not enshrined at the time.

Tim Maddog said...

Some "halt" that was, eh?
- - -

Premier Jiang: Stopping work on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant isn't the same as stopping construction
- - -

Remind me again why anybody ever believes this government's empty promises?

Tim Maddog

Anonymous said...

I think this is a way they can allow Lin Yi-Hsiung to die without being held responsible.

The KMT has been very good at killing off Lin's family without accepting responsibility… why stop now?

Mike Fagan said...

The 4th nuke only has a power rating of 2.7 GW, which at 60% efficiency over the course of the year is an extra 14 TW hours. Taiwan's annual electricity "budget" is over 250 TW hours, so the 4th nuke would only have increased total electricity production by about 6% or so.

That's not very much for the beeellions of dollars spent on it over the decades. So even though I think nuclear safety is not getting a fair hearing in what passes for the public "debate", the 4th nuke is just not good enough value for the money that's been spent on it.

There is reportedly fast progress in the materials science aspects to photovoltaic research, but we're still maybe a decade or so off having these made commercially available. We're stuck with the crappy, <20% silicon ones for now.

Were Taiwan to have a plebiscite over what type of power stations to be built (and if I could vote), I'd vote for CC gas turbines: they require far less land than either nukes or renewables; they are relatively cheap and quick to build and connect; they are up to 60% efficient due to the second cycle; they do not suffer from intermittency so can run all day long; they emit less carbon dioxide than coal (though that doesn't matter anyway); and there will be an abundant supply of gas long into the future from "friendly" nations such as the U.S. and the U.K.

What's not to like? (Excepting the share price of the solar cell manufacturers).

Anonymous said...

It also needs to be mentioned that, while the Ma administration continues to push nuclear power as the solution to Taiwan's industrial and economic forecasts of the 1990s, the Ma administration has played a major role in shifting Taiwan's economy from the energy intensive industries of silicon wafer manufacturing and other tech based sectors, having outsourced those industries to China beginning with the 12" wafer plants.

The types of industries promoted by the KMT as representative of Taiwan's future, are tourism and service based that have no need for all the kilowatts Ma claims Taiwan is lacking.

les said...

Taiwan will need the extra power when all those empty houses and apartments are filled with new migrants from China.