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Ten years after Fukushima, premier vows ecological conservation and power reliability

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On Thursday—the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan—Premier Su Tseng-chang said the impact of the disaster was frightening and lingering, and announced that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project in Taiwan would not be reactivated. To provide reliable power and protect and conserve the environment, the government is not only developing a variety of green energy infrastructure, but also taking comprehensive steps to raise the share of renewable energy sources, and reduce air pollution by using more natural gas and less coal.

Ten years ago today, the compounded effects of a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a massive nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Of the 1 million people that lived in the vicinity, 300,000 were forced to relocate, and today over 40,000 are unable to return. The loss of life, damage to property and economic costs are even more incalculable. Taiwan, sitting right next to Japan, is exposed to just as many earthquakes. With close to 10 million people living near a nuclear power plant, Taiwan can even less afford to take the risk.

President Tsai Ing-wen introduced a comprehensive policy to transform Taiwan's energy market when she took office in 2016. By systematically raising the ratio of renewable resources, as well as increasing natural gas use while reducing coal to curb air pollution, the initiative aims to provide reliable energy supplies with cleaner and safer sources. Thanks to the nation's collective efforts, renewable resources now account for 16.5 percent of all energy generated, up from 9.5 percent in 2016. The rise of solar power has been particularly rapid, increasing fivefold.

The government sees reliable power provision and environmental sustainability as equally important common ideals, the premier said. Every effort will be made to ensure not only stable energy but also sound ecological protection and conservation.

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