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International College of Innovation x Taipei Fine Arts Museum: Final Theater of Negotiation “The Pending Future of Nuclear Waste”

Date : 2021-01-15 Department : International College of Innovation
【Article by International College of Innovation】
On December 26, 2020, the final Theater of Negotiation “The Pending Future of Nuclear Waste” co-organized by International College of Innovation (ICI) and Centre for Democratic Innovation and Governance (CDIG) took place in Gallery D, Basement Level of Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The event lasted for 3 hours, featuring the organizers, ICI Anthropocene and Geopolitics course students as the main characters in the Theater of Negotiation together with the public who are interested in the future of nuclear power and energy transformation in Taiwan.

Theater of Negotiation is a form of role-playing in which characters have to represent different parties and communities to debate on their viewpoint on a particularly severe social issue of Taiwanese modern society. These issues include nuclear waste, food safety, renewable energy, and assisted conception. “The Pending Future of Nuclear Waste” is the sequel Theater of Negotiation of “Revisiting Plasticizer Food”, and also the last Theater of Negotiation in Taipei Biennial 2020. When it comes to the environment and human beings' benefit, there are always disagreements among multilateral sides. Thus, the aim of Theater of Negotiations is to make it possible to bring people who disagree on a topic together into the same room so that they can negotiate. The Negotiation also involves Taiwan STS Association (Taiwan Science, Technology and Society Association) and students from five universities such as National Chengchi University, National Taiwan University, National Yang Ming University, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology and Shih Hsin University as participating schools.

This week's Theater of Negotiation topic “The Pending Future of Nuclear Waste'' has been a hotly debated social issue in Taiwan recently since Taiwan is facing the need for energy transformation to achieve a more sustainable and economical energy source in the future. Nuclear power is one of the possible alternatives among other energy sources. Nuclear power plants have been built in the northeast coast of Taiwan, raising multiple disputes over the effects of nuclear waste on these areas. The disposal of nuclear waste is a long-term problem that requires the interdisciplinary knowledge between natural science and social science. In Taiwan, nuclear energy and the disposal of nuclear waste has been open to debate in the democratization process during the 1980s. Nowadays, the focus of nuclear waste treatment has shifted to the decommissioning of nuclear power plants on the northern coast and special arrangements for the disposal of this high-level radioactive waste. The Theater of Negotiation Simulation was based on the Executive Yuan’s “Nuclear-Free Homeland Task Force Committee” and simulates the meetings and informal exchanges after the meeting, demonstrating the policy-making participation and negotiation agency of the diversified communities of stakeholders.

Especially, what sets this Theater of Negotiation apart is the presence of nonhuman representatives such as the Northern Coastal Land and Used Nuclear Fuel. The main characters also include Member of the Land Alliance, President of Natural Person Foundation, Chairman of Local Association, Researcher of Green Earth Foundation, Chief executive of Taiwan Zero Nuclear Power Foundation, Director of Nuclear Engineering and Scientific Research Institute, Former Committee Chairperson of Energy source Association, e.t.c. Each of the characters from the government, the NGOs, nonhuman representatives and research institutes will deliver a presentation and materials to defend their opinion and others can raise questions for them to answer. How should we deal with the disposal of nuclear waste, which material should be used to construct the containers of these waste? Which country policy and solution should be considered as Taiwan’s reference? All of the similar questions will be raised and addressed during this Negotiation. As stated in the introduction poster for the event: “This simulation hopes to bring aspirations to the current impasse, by inviting reflections on the entanglement between technological artefacts and societal negotiations in attempting the settlement of the storage facility and, thus, to imagine a possible future of place-remaking and revitalization.”

This Theater of Negotiation was a great opportunity for the students of ICI Anthropocene and Geopolitics course to gain a deeper insight into the urgent issue of the treatment for nuclear power waste. The students also had a chance to improve their soft skills such as critical thinking and presenting skills. What’s more, the attendees could acquire more knowledge about the future of Taiwan energy transformation.

The Taipei Biennial 2020: Theater of Negotiations event is a collaboration between International College of Innovation Anthropocene and Geopolitics course (opened by Professors Paul Jobin and Chih-Yuan Yang), Taiwan STS Association (Taiwan Science, Technology and Society Association), Centre for Democratic Innovation and Governance (CDIG) and Taipei Fine Arts Museum for the 2020 Fall Semester. Although this was the final of the Theater of Negotiations series, there are still a lot of fun activities that await you in Taipei Fine Arts Museum since the Taipei Biennial 2020 “You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet” will last from 2020.11.21 to 2021.03.14 with interesting weekly events and exhibitions.
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