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Taiwan mulls international nuclear fusion research

National Science and Technology Council sees high cost as problem

Archived photo of NSTC Minister Wu Tsung-tsong. 

Archived photo of NSTC Minister Wu Tsung-tsong.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has launched high-temperature plasma research of its own, but is still mulling international cooperation on nuclear fusion due to the latter’s high cost, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Minister Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) said Wednesday (Nov. 8).

Legislators questioned the minister about Taiwan’s nuclear fusion efforts, wondering whether it was investing enough in a technology seen as contributing to lower carbon emissions. They asked whether Wu was planning to list it as a key national technology, per CNA.

Wu said it would take 20 to 30 years before nuclear fusion was a viable commercial enterprise. If too many funds were devoted to its development at the start, other types of technology would be pushed aside, he said.

The NSTC budget for 2023 included NT$450 million (US$13.95 million) for zero emission projects, but only NT$35 million is devoted to nuclear fusion, lawmakers said. The low proportion casts doubts on the government’s willingness to develop the technology, according to the critics.