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Nuclear Ghost Town Reveals Power Risk for Taiwan's Energy Shift

  • Plan to shut reactors sparks race to develop wind, solar power
  • Goal is 70% of electricity from gas, renewable sources by 2025
The Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao.
The Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao.Photographer: Ashley Pon/Getty Images
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A map at the guard-house of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan shows what might have been: Classrooms, dormitories, a grocery store, a police station. It was supposed to be a self-contained city on the island’s northeast coast designed to meet growing demand for electricity in Asia’s seventh-largest economy.

Instead, the complex stands empty -- unfinished and never used -- a $10 billion casualty of growing public opposition to nuclear power. Since a disastrous 2011 reactor meltdown in Japan, more than 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) away, Taiwan has rewritten its energy plans. President Tsai Ing-wen ordered all of the country’s nuclear reactors to shut by 2025.