tv Taiwan Outlook PBS October 20, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
nuclear energy has always been an important part of energy supply worldwide and taiwan is no exception. on today's program, we are delighted to have a conversation with officer -- with professor way kuo from city university hong kong to discuss the state of nuclear energy in hong kong. >> good to be here. >> a pleasure to have your on the program today. you have recently come out with a book on the state of nuclear energy. can you tell us a little bit about the book and what are some of the important findings in the book? >> ok. this is a book that was written right after my visit at fukushima about two and half years ago. the energy issue is a major issue today. the key of the book is to look for a connection between energy
and the environment. the issue that addresses in the book is to look at the trade- offs among manufacturers. like resources, safety, reliability, all kinds of benefits we can get from energy and what are the side effects i using different resources? >> it you having titled the book based on the literal translation is the minority report on nucler energy. why the title? why do you think some of the key misconceptions people may have about the use of nuclear energy? ask this is the second edition. the first addition was published in hong kong and the title was rainbow energy. that was the original one. you look at seven different
kinds of energy sources, looking at allen's for using it and the english edition would be made available very soon based on that image. but this specific instance, minority report, i think it is more focused on my visit to fukushima. >> what were some of the things upon first arriving there, what was your impression? it was a terrible tragedy, but what were some of the things that struc you most customer >> i went to tokyo on april 20, two years ago. then i stayed one day before i went to fukushima. my first impression was the japanese were so-called, super calm and there was no riot. that is very common. the people i visit were not surprised by this because the
earthquake in japan was expected . >> it was a commonplace occurrence. lex it is quite common. they sort of predicted something like this would happen, although it was beyond their imagination. the earthquake was such a severe thing and he soon him he was really beyond expectation. >> let me ask you -- subsequent to the earthquake and soon on a, there were months in cities like tokyo that people were forced to go on electricity rationing programs. how did people respond to that? it's certainly something they did not expect in a city like tokyo. how did people who live there respond? >> you are correct. even though on april 20, i was there in the subway in tokyo.
many elevators were shut down. people seemed to take it, but in the summer, a few aged people died because of heat and they became a little more panicked. again, the japanese are very calm. >> i remember on june 7, when you launched the book that you have called on the government to come up with a long-term energy plan for taiwan. in your opinion, what would be some of the key points that should be considered and included in formulating energy policy? for example, increasing transparency, what are some of the key points? >> you are right again. the issue of our energy environment, these are the
topics everybody knows a little bit. the people are not uglier with the facts that this is a very specialized and technical topic. there are three elements i have shared with the government in taiwan and address in the book. the three elements are number one, the energy today is not a luxurious item. it's a necessity. we look at the availability of energy sources and not everyone can get every kind of energy. that is number one. number two is reliability and the sustainability of energy sources. you want the energy supply to be reliable and sustained and not everyone can do that. either and reliability or sustainability.
the third part i think is very important. we look at the future of human well-being. we want to leave it better. we want to have economic growth. we want to enjoy what nature has given us. to make a long story short, how to allen's all those elements, necessity, sustainability, reliability and economic growth. it is not easy. unfortunately, people don't pay attention to it. they only look at one slice of the pie. >> in your ongoing research, do you find it is a possibility for the three competing goals to compromise? to reach somewhat of a halfway point? are you willing to settle for
50% or 60%? >> absolutely. you need to look at your objectives, what you want to do. what are your priorities and what are the things available for you to do this? you can dream something impossible, but on the other hand, i believe we should invest more for the future development of energy. that part has been overlooked. >> we can talk about that later in the program. after the fukushima accident, a lot of the countries in the neighboring asian-pacific areas have taken steps to try to change their outlook energy policy and make the necessary changes and protections. in addition to that, we have talked about the importance of becoming more inclusive in terms of policymaking. what is important for taiwan is
to try to meet the international standards that have been set by many countries, especially those in the neighborhood. what would be some of the international standards or conventional practices that you can recommend for the government here to consider in terms of formulating a revised energy policy? >> one of them is look at the quality of the standard, including the three attributes. leave that to experts to figure out. but because it is a public agenda, you need to embrace the public opinion. yet we need to direct the opinion to make it transparent. so people know what is going on and why something is very important. when people understand things well, things can be carried through much easier, otherwise you leave a lot of room for speculation.
so there are a lot of rumors that are just not correct and quite a few issues. one other thing that is very important for taiwan in terms of the energy and environment issue, we should reach some kind of understanding and that kind of understanding should be bipartisan or tri-partisan. let's make it more continuous, regardless of who is in charge. so you will sing a different song every year. i think that goes in every direction to be so chaotic is not very pleasant and not right. that would make us quite a back step from the international outlook. >> what is important for taiwan is that we need to have that rational space for debate. >> yes. we have the world demonstration
effect in this day and age of the internet grade what happens on the other side of the globe can quickly be transmitted all over the globe. people in other parts of the world say if they can do it in oecd, why not here or other parts of the world? given the rapid transformation of images, what do you think about the space for rational debate, would that be compressed because people are amending they can do it here, why not there? there is a sense we are measuring up against the international standard that is constantly being pushed upward so that makes it almost seem and possible to satisfy all the people. is that generally the sense for the policymakers around the world? rex i think so.
it is interesting now days, the energy problem in taiwan i think is a symptom of the general culture in taiwan, no matter any subject we discuss, we seem to all go in a very chaotic way and i think this is a symptom and we need to make it more transparent. people in taiwan are so highly educated grade so many have college degrees, i think we have a problem among the country, but in reality, the way people reflect on different issues, it is not consistent with the degrees we've got and i think i'm puzzled. i think we need leadership to make this more clear. >> is why we need experts like
>> welcome back to the second part of today's program. i'm your host, wu ray-kuo. we are continuing our conversation with way kuo, the president of city university of hong kong and an expert on nuclear energy. what we are talking about in your book really in the earlier segment, the book has a special provision in terms of making all the purchases of the donation into a scholarship.
the reason i am promoting the book at this moment is donating a scholarship. the book is going to be made available and be published widely. the japanese version is also available soon. the chinese version will also be available very soon. >> this is a very important piece of work and i know the french version is now in consideration and we may see that in a few years. >> i hope so. >> soon after the fukushima nuclear accident in march of 2011, the city university of hong kong has come up with a program on crisis management and
nuclear energy. can you tell us a little bit about the program and what are some of the qualities the program intends to train the students with. >> this is wonderful. the fukushima crisis occurred on march 11, 2011. coincidently, we submitted a proposal to the government on february 15th, 2011. three weeks before that to develop this risk analysis and nuclear engineering program. we were worried about the government not improving because there is no nuclear power play in hong kong. but we submitted this proposal because there would be 22 nuclear reactors across the border on the china side. it will provide a lot of electricity to hong kong.
in order to understand the risk, we feel very strongly we need to develop a program in hong kong so that we know what is going on. in a dark spot. >> that is why the program was first launched more than two years ago. how big is the program now? >> the program is moving along quite well. every year, we accept 30 students. we are accepting master students and we are signing agreements with cambridge university to have a joint degree with cambridge. one feature of the program is if
you look at crisis management. >> what would be some of the career options for students who graduate from the programs's? >> very good. the future is very bright. what are the resources? each will need 700 or 800 engineers. where are they from? 30 is not enough. as a technical program and engineering from graham, the graduates will be capable of doing many other related issues. furthermore, because it has the crisis management element, in wall street, they like to hire students of that kind of background. the future is very bright.
we already get a lot of encouragement. >> at is certainly very encouraging. have you noticed there is more interest in crisis management and nuclear energy after the fukushima accident or has there been a decline in the sense that they say it is a terrible tragedy? what was the general reaction? >> people are more interested in crisis management because not just nuclear. one thing that is addressed in this book, it includes public health issues. some of the safety related issues, you would be amazed. there are many things that have been surrounding us that need to be paid attention to. crisis management can really deal with everyday problems.
>> you are a graduate from the nuclear engineering department at the national university here in taiwan trade what are some of the cooperative programs your current university has with your alma mater and other leading institutions run the world? you just mentioned cambridge university. are there any other institutions that have ongoing cooperations with the city university in hong kong? >> that is very good rate more than happy to share some of the academic secrets. strictly speaking, not just in taiwan, but in aging, we have three universities that are working together to rotate the students in the nuclear program.
to understand the paradigms today and the agendas area we also work with the national university on joining the program. the university students come for two years and they can get a degree on both sides. we have also had ongoing projects with columbia university in new york with athletics. we have about five students there to join together with columbia university and the city university hong kong. two degrees at the same time. >> we understand that in addition to being one of the leading universities in the asia-pacific region, the city university of hong kong has been very well-known for its engineering and science
programs. and the last few years, we understand the city university has made a lot of changes in terms of the curriculum and offers students. in terms of recruitment of students from china and taiwan, city university has been very progressive in that area. what are some of the changes you have seen over the years in terms of students aptitude and their orientation toward studies and a possible career in engineering and related fields? >> i'm glad to say we are the first university in hong kong that recruits students from taiwan. there are a lot of hong kong students that study in taiwan, but before my arrival in 2008, there were essentially no students in hong kong from taiwan. so our goal is to have
international co-op experience. we send the students to japan and taiwan and we have quite a few staying in sin eaters berg, russia. this can have the students have an experience on the international front. seeing is believing. we stay outside the semester for at least one year to take courses, mingle with local students and understand what is going on in a different environment. when they come back, they become more mature. our university should promote innovation and discovery we want every student who graduates from city university to have an element of discovery. it doesn't have to be big. you should have some idea about this. but how to get that one, international experience or help. >> the programs you mentioned
will be part of the overall effort to make the graduates and students more internationally oriented. what are some of the lessons you can share with us that leading universities in hong kong and other parts of asia can learn and ro from the experiences at cdu? >> international and cooperative experience is very important. one thing i have been promoting is i think communication is very important. communication in any language. similar to the nuclear program in fukushima, i think what we need to improve is we need to address issues. we need to be more evidence- based. i want all of my students to
have something based on evidence is and experience great >> you being an educator, over the years, and the united states and in tennessee and now back in taiwan and hong kong, what would be some of the programs you can recommend for young students to develop those skills, to be able to look at issues without much emotions involved and look at the controversy based on the evidence available. what would be some of the things we can train the younger generation to acquire those qualities at an earlier age? >> your question is very broad. i will make a long story short. it is a common phenomenon in our environment the common problem
is very different from what i have seen in the usa. you graduate from berkeley and you know that. a number of hours required for a student to graduate is very small. yet every student is very busy. to get a degree is not easy. only half the students can graduate. >> getting in is the easy part. >> not as easy, but relatively speaking, easy. in our community here, since i came to hong kong five years ago, we require students to take many hours. not as hard as american students. we tend to learn something from the book and keep them busy. but yet, they don't have room to think about this. our students don't have enough room to think about open-ended
questions. so educators should try to look at a curriculum. i have a famous statement. if some student can learn something from the book, why do they need me as the instructor? by that, what i mean is if you go to the classroom, you should be able to get a little something. a student cannot just learn from the book. the book is only reference. now the situation in the usa, you don't have to require the student to take so many hours, but you deliver some key issues and they can explore more possibilities. that is a very sound advice. >> me to take another break on our program. we will be right back. -- we need to take another break on our program.
>> welcome back to today's rogue ram. i am your host, wu ray-kuo. we are continuing our conversation with professor way kuo, president of the city university of hong kong. we want to talk a little bit about the fukushima accident, going back two years plus in time. you are one of the leading foreign experts to arrive on the scene. based on your observations, what are some of the likely factors that caused the accident? was it because of the natural disaster and tsunami or was it because of human error? what's your response to that? >> good to come back again and essentially, very clear, it was a management issue.
the real key issue is a maintenance issue, when a natural disaster hit the power plant. the system worked well. but the nuclear reactor core was still very hot in terms of temperature and radiation. you need to have some water cooling down, but you need power to drive the water. unfortunately, the power was not made available. it was a maintenance issue. that was really the immediate effect to delay the consequences . that is really unfortunate. >> so this is something more involved with the human error?
>> absolutely. >> and could have been avoided. >> it definitely could have been avoided. we tend to ignore maintenance all the time, particularly a system that goes well. unfortunately, this will kill us, not just for nuclear power plant, but any thing we have. the second problem is the reporting system did not go smoothly. they did not make a decision quickly. >> one of the essence of just taiwan but many countries that have nuclear power plants can learn from the japan experience is the importance of transparency. >> correct. transparency information, transparency on safety measures and the protection schemes available are very important in terms of communication with the
public. do you think after the accident in japan, has that lesson learned by neighboring countries as well as other countries around the world that have nuclear power plants to make the information and necessary measures transparent and available for the public's to scrutinize westerberg >> i certainly hope so. in 1979, when the three mile island crisis happened, damage was -- japan did not as good a job. but it is better than chernobyl. i certainly hope the neighboring states will pay attention and know what is going on. >> you have been a leading expert in the area of nuclear
energy and crisis management. what are some of the more frequently asked questions you confront? whether it is from students or people who attend lectures or people who need you and know you are a nuclear expert, what would be some of the things? >> certainly, they are interested in knowing how many people were killed in the fukushima accident. very curious about how you handle nuclear waste. most of all, people tend to think what is the chance something will happen and what is the consequence if something happens. a lot of people put a dark spot. they believe the chances not low
and they think the consequence would be very severe and people worry about what would you do if something happened? radiation is certainly the most common way people worry about. >> a lot of people are concerned, if there was a nuclear radiation, the consequences may not be apparent , not for another five, six or 10 years erie a lot of people think may be in the immediate months or years that we don't see much change to people's health or impact on the environment, but longer in time, they come across some very serious issues, has that been something a lot of people are concerned with? >> everybody is talking about that dream but we need to tell people based on the evidence how
to handle this. why is that important? three mile island. when three mile island happened, the crisis occurred. there was -- the equation was asked, what if tomorrow or next year, it has been 34 years there is no difference. >> so far, so good. 35 years, who knows? >> as stated at the beginning of the program, although this is controversial, the use of nuclear power, nuclear energy has been a very important part of the energy supply for many countries, including taiwan. it is also becoming somewhat of an international issue. universally shared by men of the people that they would like to see phased out the use of nuclear energy in the coming few
years or in the foreseeable future. what's the general international trend regarding the use of nuclear energy? we understand some of the countries in europe rely heavily on the use of nuclear energy, but also because of the fukushima accident, countries like sweden revise their national energy policy and will try to phase out the use of nuclear energy. what would be some of the ongoing international trend you can observe and share with us? fax -- >> germany is the most famous one. germany wants to abolish nuclear energy completely. by 2050, there -- there will have no power plan for nuclear
and germany. they like to develop wind power, the number two was actually hydro-. the next one will be fire coming from coal petroleum and natural gas. natural gas, far much more than petroleum. nevertheless, it is what they do. germany is the most famous one in terms of the future area but it will would be south korea. south korea will be 59% nuclear. >> what is it currently?
>> right now, is it about half of it area the other one is china and india. china at this moment has a very small portion of nuclear supplies. they would like to increase and they will have more than 100 react first in china. interestingly enough, saudi arabia is a big producer of petroleum. it's going to develop nuclear very fast. >> one thing a lot of people ask is we have a lot of discussions about renewable, alternative energy resources trait you mentioned wind and solar. a lot of people may not know these alternative energy sources at this particular point are not considered very stable. what do you think that will be
in the years ahead? will we see more and more alternative and renewable energy sources being used in the energy policy of many countries? >> i would like to take solar energy as an example. because of the technology and research, the solar energy price has -- is still more at this moment. investment in resource will still be very important. but it is not sustainable. coal and nuclear are the two most sustainable for the time being. we need to do research erie it i think we need to look at the rainbow of energy sources and to keep on studying.
>> welcome back to the final part of today's program. i'm your host, wu ray-kuo. we will continue our conversation with way kuo, president of the city university of hong kong. based on your experience and education, you have a strong international flavor in the sense that you are educated first in taiwan and you went to the united states and ended up teaching their for some years and coming back to taiwan and hong kong.
now being the president of the city university for the last few years, your international background has given you the broader perspective and longer vision of where higher education should lead in the next few years. the internationalization of higher education has always been a priority concern for the government in taiwan and the academic community. what would be some of the recommendations you can make to the government and community here in terms of helping the next generation of students from taiwan to be more internationally oriented. not just speaking english only. >> i'm glad you say that. the internationalization is a modernization. it is an ongoing process to improve your learning process.
certainly what we learned today is very different from many years ago when i was a student. a hugdiffencen mypini ishe student needs to learn how to communicate. taiwan and china are promoting innovation, but innovation comes from something else. the modern practice in higher education is a perfect integration of research and teaching. we tend to separate the university and this is a terrible thing. you cannot separate erie it if you don't do researc what do u teach? >> you can use the textbook from 30 years ago.
if you do research, you don't teach. your researcmay t bes valuable. more problem. today needs to be problem treatment. if you don't like to teach, why are you in the university? you need to love it. a mix of teaching and research is an essential element. the only difference is some people may do a little more research and other people do more teaching than research. but you cannot separate them. to me, that's the otter in practice and that is very clear. please, do not separate university into teaching and research. >> do you think the government is on the right track? we often hear people say there are too many universities in taiwan.
>> i said that 15 years ago. the other element is resources. we have limited resources. we can't do everything. >> we have a declining birthrate, probably the lowest in the world trade it becomes more competitive in terms of recruiting the top quality students available. >> i remember back in august of 2009, you were invited by the higher education credit they should counsel of high want to give a speech on clarifying some myth about teaching and research and continuing the argument you just proposed. what would be some of the traditional mhs people may have regarding research and teaching? >> there are many of them.
education is something, everybody knows something. but most of those, if you don't believe it, you take a taxi driver. everyone would tell you, but no basis. for example, people tend to say you do too much resrch therore u cannot ba good teacr. teach in a very small class. you don't want big classes. in the usa people will tell you if you don't speak good english yocan't be a good teacher. professors. all of these are myths. they have been very little
studied. something we think is true, but we don't know. we need to do research. >> do you think in the last few years after the speech, there has been a wider acceptance an the knowledge meant of this traditional myths that need to be altered? may be among the peer group in taiwan? >> i think the people are listening. >> in the final few minutes that we have in the program, we understand when you were younger, you wanted to be a doctor, but you ended up studying one of the leading engineering schools in taiwan. now you are becoming a world
renowned engineering specialist in the area of energy research. also reliability research. what were the factors that led to change her career choice? >> what you study in the very beginning is not the most important thing. in 1968, i graduated from the university but transferred in 1967. in that particular year, i was on the list for medical school. but it was canceled in 1967 and my father was transferred to taipei. i shifted to engineering and sciences enough to get into the
nuclear program. i think it was a good choice and we have a lot of colleagues that give us more basic training and education for you to explore in the future. i think the undergraduate degree today, some general background is very important. give you room to grow. i am proud. >> your training is in the area of engineering. as an engineer, you're very pragmatic and down to earth. you speak only based on the evidence available. but you have been a university administrator. of course you need to look at the picture more comprehensively and consider a lot of the nonengineering factors into a lot of the policymaking processes.
how do you reconcile different roles and trainings that you have received? were there ever times you felt a little frustrated because some of the things you are advocating and promoting may not be readily accepted or supported by the people you are communicating to? how do you reconcile the two? >> it applies to every discipline. the difference is, in the academic community, there is a very well-known theory. what if you have to make decision but have very little evidence? what do you do? you need to use relevant experience to look into this. you need to broaden your view and embrace people in different disciplines.
i think general education is very important. >> in fact, your question has been answered in my blog. welcome to go to my blog. it has a lot of answers to the questions. >> it certainly has been an honor and pleasure to have you here in the program. i want to wish you and the city university all the best. >> good to be here. thank you for giving me a chance to share my view. >> i look forward to staying in touch very >> thank you for watching our program. i will see you next time. thank you.