The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) was founded in 1955 at the ministerial level under the Executive Yuan. Its original mission was to foster peaceful applications of atomic energy, and to coordinate international cooperation on nuclear energy.
In 1961, an open-pool reactor built by the National Tsing Hua University, THOR, reached its first criticality. Then, in 1968, the Atomic Energy Law was enacted and the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) was founded.
In 1974, the Taiwan Radiation Monitoring Station (TRMS) was established under AEC. Four years later, the state-owned power utility Taiwan Power Company (TPC) connected its first nuclear power plant (NPP) to the grid and started its commercial operation. In 1981, Radwaste Administration (RWA) was formed under AEC aimed to regulate radioactive waste management. In 1996, TRMS and RWA were then renamed as the Radiation Monitoring Center (RMC) and the Fuel Cycle and Materials Administration (FCMA), respectively.
In 1999, AEC issued a construction permit to TPC for its fourth nuclear power (Lungmen) project. However, on April 28, 2014, following growing protests over the project, the government decided to “seal and save” the plant. Therefore, TPC subsequently submitted the “Deferral and Layup Program of Lungmen” in September 2014, which was approved by AEC in January 2015. In August 2015, TPC formally notified AEC that Lungmen plant entered into the deferral state.
Over the past two decades, with six reactor units in operation, two units in development and other peaceful applications of nuclear and radiation technology expanding in great pace, AEC's most important mission has been shifted to reactor safety regulation, radiation protection, radwaste administration, environmental monitoring and R&D for technology development and other civilian nuclear applications.
After taking office on May 20, 2016, the new government has decided to strive toward its goal of nuclear power phase-out by 2025, which means the existing three operating nuclear power plants will cease operation when their 40-year operating licenses expire, and the currently mothballed Lungman plant will be scrapped. With this goal in mind, ensuring safety during "Nuclear Power Phase-Out" as well as regulating nuclear plant decommissioning and radioactive waste management will be AEC's major tasks in the coming years.