If Taiwan didn’t already have enough reasons to give up nuclear power (which it does, as we have examined for several weeks already), joining the list right at the top now is the fact that Yangming Mountain National Park is home to a group of volcanos with at least one shallow magma chamber. Not only could an eruption of the shallow magma chamber in the Datun Volcano Group – which, by the way, is a group of as many as 20 volcanoes! – potentially destroy large parts of Taipei, starting with Beitou and Shilin Districts, it could also flow directly to two of Taiwan’s nuclear power plants at Wanli and Jinshan, leading to calamitous consequences. So now, in addition to the very real risks from earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, tsunamis, and Taiwan’s lax safety culture, you can include volcanic eruption and lava flow.
The current government’s plan for Taiwan to go nuclear-free by 2025 is without a doubt the only safe and sensible way to reduce the risk of total catastrophe that using nuclear power on a tiny island inevitably entails. Currently, Taiwan gets less than ten percent of its total electricity from nuclear source power, and that is thankfully decreasing day by day as the plants are being decommissioned. What is really needed though, is a concerted effort to replace that capacity with clean, green and safe renewables. Why isn’t geothermal power being developed right now, to at least harness some of the natural resources that are so abundant on Taiwan?