Mon, Nov 05, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Academics push petition against key referendum

By Rachel Lin  /  Staff reporter

One of the forms for a petition against a referendum that aims to scrap the government’s policy of achieving a “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” is pictured yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Lin Hsiao-yun, Taipei Times

Forty-eight academics yesterday launched a petition against a referendum that aims to scrap the government’s policy of achieving a “nuclear-free homeland by 2025,” collecting more than 200 signatures from colleagues on the first day.

Among the initiators were Academia Sinica academicians Lin Ming-chang (林明璋) and Lin Chang-shou (林長壽), National Chung Hsing University environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei (莊秉潔) and National Taiwan University geoscience professor Chen Wen-shan (陳文山).

The referendum, one of several to be held alongside the Nov. 24 elections, asks voters if they agree with abolishing Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act (電業法), which stipulates that all of Taiwan’s nuclear power generation facilities should be decommissioned by 2025.

The petition’s organizers citied the risk of a nuclear plant disaster and environmental problems associated with the disposal of nuclear waste in urging people to vote against the referendum.

Regarding the referendum advocates’ call for resuming the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), the petition organizers wrote that the proposal was not feasible, as the plant’s construction involved more than 500 infringements by Taiwan Power Co (台電) and cost nearly NT$300 billion (US$9.76 billion at the current exchange rate) before it was mothballed in 2015.

Nuclear plants in Taiwan face higher levels of risk and are costlier to operate than those in other nations, as Taiwan sits on active fault lines and is more likely to experience flooding and tsunamis, they wrote.

The referendum advocates proposed that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity be generated from nuclear power, 40 percent from coal, 30 percent from gas and 10 percent from renewable sources, which the petition organizaers said would not help curtail air pollution as the advocates have claimed.

The petition organizers also said it would be dangerous to have 20 percent of power generated from decades-old nuclear plants and the poorly built Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Nuclear energy would leave behind nuclear waste for future generations to take care of, the petition organizers said.

The petition calls on policymakers to devote the nation’s limited resources to developing renewable energy sources, instead of nuclear and coal-fired facilities.

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