Taiwanese should decide on the best energy source for island: UK official

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

It is up to the Taiwanese people to decide which technology is the most appropriate to generate electricity amid public concern following the radiation crisis in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture that caused concerns around the world over the safety of nuclear power, a visiting United Kingdom senior official said yesterday in Taipei. “The Fukushima incident in Japan is definitely increasing the pressure on public confidence regarding nuclear power in UK,” said British Special Representative for Climate Change John Ashton yesterday in Taipei. England still largely relies on nuclear power, which amounts to about 20 percent of its total electricity supply, he said.  He also admitted that it is still hard to predict whether another energy source could replace nuclear power in the near future.  Ashton also noted that further clarification is required concerning the accident in Japan to determine the true cause of the event.  Citing the example of the Three Mile Island incident, the British official said it took five years for experts to gain a clear picture.  He also noted that it is not for him to give advice to Taiwanese officials on whether nuclear power is the safest form of clean energy to use, when he was asked by reporters to comment on this matter.

However, Ashton noted that the UK is moving toward low-carbon efficient energy, which the country believes is the future. Ashton was here in Taiwan to attend a business luncheon co-hosted by the Business Council for Sustainable Development and British Trade and Cultural Office yesterday, during which he shared the UK’s experiences on its low-carbon economy. The visiting British official can speak fluent mandarin as his wife is from Tainan, and therefore he has special ties to the Taiwan. He noted that the issue for all countries around the world is the same, since we all know a period of transition is going to happen. It is time for governments, including Taiwan, to actively engage in policies on how to more effectively face the challenges caused by climate change. “We need to move toward a carbon neutral society by using energy with more efficiency and with less waste,” he added.