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Fri, Jun 16, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Group to discuss Fourth Nuclear Power Plant plan

ENERGY TALKS The group which will determine whether to go forward with the power plant will meet for the first time today


Members of a task force charged with reviewing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四廠) project will meet for the first time today. The group is expected to decide by mid-September whether to continue with the controversial power project.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) established the 19-person team early this week under persistent pressure from anti-nuclear activists, who are demanding President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) fulfill his campaign promise to abandon nuclear energy.

The group is composed of government representatives, academics, and industry members. Opponents of the project make up the majority of the task force members.

Four National Taiwan University professors -- Chang Kuo-lung (張國龍), Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), Shih Shin-min (施信民), and Wang Jung-der (王榮德) -- and National Taipei University economist Wang To-far (王塗發) are known for their strong opposition to nuclear energy.

"At the first meeting, we hope to discuss the rules of the game, including the order of the agenda and ways of participation," said Shih, a professor of chemical engineering who is also a former head of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union.

Shih also said activists hoped to pass a resolution to broadcast the team's discussions in the future.

They also hope to rally officials who have been supportive of environmental activism in the past, Shih said.

"I'm sure that Environmental Protection Administration chief, Lin Jun-yi (林俊義) is still behind us. And Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has expressed his opposition to the project," Shih said, adding that activists also would try to bring on board Council for Economic Planning and Development(CEPD) Chairman Chen Po-chih (陳博志).

For many years now, the CEPD head has been on friendly terms with the DPP, which has long supported environmental issues in Taiwan.

Other task force members, who have expressed support for nuclear energy in the past, include Atomic Energy Council Chairman Hsia Der-yu (夏德鈺), industry representatives Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) from China Steel Corp (中鋼), Liao Pen-ta (廖本達) from Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), and professors Lee Min (李敏) from National Tseng Hua University, and Wu Tsai-yi (吳再益) from the Taiwan Research Institute.

Shih said Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) and his vice minister, Yin Chi-ming(尹啟銘), would play key roles.

"We have not yet heard these two key persons' opinions on the project, so we're going to fight to bring them to our side" said Shih.

Shih said the MOEA suggested representatives from several government agencies attend the meeting to help answer any technical questions task force members may have.

But Shih expressed bewilderment at the fact that officials from the Department of Health, Council of Agriculture and Ministry of Transportation and Communications were not on the list to attend the meeting.

Shih said such agencies had much to do with nuclear energy issues, given its proven health risks, possible environmental impact, radioactive waste management, and emergency evacuation in case of an accident.

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