2014年4月30日 星期三

Second Thoughts 反思 (中)

Shortly after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, I wrote an entry in Taitung Style about nuclear power.  In this entry I was quite strenuous in my objections to nuclear power, and also in my support for those protesting against the use of nuclear power in Taiwan.  福島核災以後, 我在Taitung Style寫了一篇關於核電的文章.  我在那裡強力反對核電, 也支持反核電的人.

In the years after Fukushima, Taiwan's anti-nuclear movement has gathered strength.  The protests following Fukushima were just the beginning.  Most recently there was another mass protest in Taipei, with smaller, corresponding protests around the island.  The government has responded to these protests by halting construction of a fourth nuclear plant in New Taipei City.  福島核災的幾年, 台灣的反核運動越來越興盛了.  福島剛發生時的反核活動只是一個起點而已.  最近在台北有個大型反核活動, 在別的地方也有些比較小型的反核活動.  對此中央政府也做出回應, 決定停蓋新北市的第四核電廠.

And while I congratulate local anti-nuke protestors on their recent success, I can't help but wonder if the anti-nuclear power movement in Taiwan is a bit misguided.  I realize that such a statement sounds strange coming from me, but I'm seeing the whole issue differently now.  當我慶祝反核夥伴的成功時, 我開始思考反核運動是否有點偏離主題.  我知道看到提倡環保的我說這樣的話很奇怪, 可是我現在對核電的看法有點不同了.

You see the problem for me is climate change.  Our planet is nearing a crisis point, and we are also nearing a point of no return.  I realize that such a statement sounds melodramatic, but it's true.  We simply must do something about climate change, and Taiwan's nuclear policy has some bearing on this issue.  我思考的問題是全球氣候的改變.  我們的地球面臨了一個危機, 我們正走向一條不歸路.  我知道這種話讓人很緊張, 但它卻是一件事實.  我們非解決全球氣候改變的問題不可. 而這個問題也跟台灣核電有關係.

In order to avert irreversible climate change, we must decrease our use of fossil fuels.  We need to be looking at alternative energy sources now, and not at some point in the distant future.  Nuclear power, despite the hazardous waste it generates, would be one one of these alternative energy sources.  I don't believe that solar and wind are adequate substitutes for our dependence on fossil fuels, and nuclear power could be used to supplement other methods of generating power.  為了要避免不可逆的氣候改變, 我們必須減少利用化石燃料.  我們需要馬上找到替代能源, 不能等到很久以後的未來.  核廢料當然是個問題, 可是核電也是替代能源的其中一個.  從我們現在使用化石燃料的狀況來看, 用太陽能還是風力發電真的不夠.  核能發電可以配合另外替代能源的計畫.

Central to this issue is the question of nuclear waste.  For one thing, newer reactors don't generate as much of it, and some reactors can even harvest energy from spent fuel rods.  The problem with Taiwan's existing reactors might not be the principles upon which they operate, but rather their age and design flaws.  Perhaps, with regard to the problems of waste and potential accidents, we might instead be talking about modernizing Taiwan's nuclear industry, and not simply doing away with it altogether.  Yes, there are some serious safety concerns with regard to nuclear power, but the only alternative seems to be a continued reliance on fossil fuels, and the continued alteration of our climate.  這件事的核心問題是核廢料處置.  最新型的核反應爐不會產生那麼多的核廢料, 還有一種核反應爐甚至可以利用已使用過的燃料棒發電.  台灣現在的問題可能不是核電的問題.  而可能是已有的核反應爐太老舊或是核反應爐不是最好的.  對可能的意外發生和核廢料來說, 不是除掉核電廠的問題, 而是該設備更新及讓台灣的核能產業跟上時代的問題.  核電當然有安全性的問題, 可是捨它而選擇化石燃料卻會讓全球氣候的改變越來越大.

The question isn't only: "Can we do away with nuclear power?" but also "What are we going to replace it with?"  When you think about it, when countries such as Germany eliminate nuclear power entirely, they are contributing much more toward climate change, for the simple fact that shortages in power supplied by nuclear reactors are often dealt with through the increased use of natural gas or other, more harmful sources.  Increased austerity isn't an option for a country foregoing nuclear power, since such austerity spells economic collapse. 問題不只是"我們是否可以不用核電?" 那麼簡單. 而是"我們用什麼能源取代核電?"  例如德國, 去除核電以後還是利用化石能源, 反讓氣候改變的問題更嚴重. 現實環境中,  這些不用核能的國家通常使用更多的天然氣或其他更有害的能源. 要求每個人降低需求並不是讓國家去除核電的好方法, 因為這反而會造成經濟的損害.

Those disagreeing with me might want to look into some of the more recent developments with regard to nuclear power.  Their issues with it often reside not with the technology itself, but rather with the public implementation of this technology.  No one wants nuclear waste in their backyard, no one wants another Fukushima, but the truth about nuclear power might just be bigger than that.  不同意的朋友應該研究一下關於核電的最新發明.  可能你們抗議核電的理由是因為公共政策, 而不是因為現今的核電技術.  沒有人希望類似福島的核災再發生, 也沒有人想把核廢料放在自己的後院, 可是核電的運用可能比這二項擔憂還有意義.

I, for one, am going to withdraw many of my objections to nuclear power.  I realize that this isn't a popular position to take right now, but given what I've read about the problems of climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, and global freshwater use, I'm seeing nuclear power a lot differently.  It might just be a way out of the mess we've unwittingly created.  我不會再反對核能發電.  我知道最近這種看法不是很受歡迎, 可是我想氣候變化, 海洋酸化, 生物多樣性的喪失, 還有全球淡水使用的問題太嚴重.  我想核電有可能幫人類解決這些自造的問題.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

The Near Future in the Present Tense
Birth of a Nation?
Semicoherent Thoughts on China
Taiwan by the Numbers: People

2 則留言:

  1. I support your view. I also think many people protest because they do not understand it very well. They are being brainwashed by so called 懶人包。if they didn't spend time to understand it, then it was not a good decision to go on street to protest and influence many people's daily life. I wish one day people in Taiwan will be able less controlable by the 懶人包 and 政客。

    1. Thanks for the comment! I'm sure many of the protesters have good reasons for protesting. I only hope that they take time to learn about the issue first. My biggest problem is with many "environmentalists" in my own country, who have decided that nuclear power is evil without thinking about why they are against it. In other words, I agree with you.