Home / Local News
Wed, Aug 02, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Taipower found to have shipped gravel illegally

POWER PLANT Taipower's contracted construction company for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant shipped gravel directly from China, lawmakers allege

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of legislators yesterday filed charges with the Control Yuan against the state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台灣電力公司) for allegedly violating the government's ban on direct cross-strait shipping, after gravel needed for the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四廠) was discovered to have been transported directly from China.

"As a state-run enterprise, Taipower was transgressing the law knowingly and even taking the lead in breaking the law. This is going to have a severe impact on the government's credibility," said DPP Legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳).

The gravel was intended for the construction of a dock attached to the power plant, located in Kungliao (貢寮), Taipei County.

The case first aroused the attention of local fishermen on July 24 when two ships were discovered in waters off Yenliao (鹽寮) port, which are marked as a fishing zone specifically for use by the Kungliao District Fishermen's Association (貢寮區漁會).

Suspecting that the ships were commanded by smugglers, the fishermen immediately notified the coast guard to deal with the matter and demanded the ships leave the waters.

The ships were then found to have sailed into port under the escort of coast guard vessels on July 28. The situation triggered strong protests from local fishermen, who then discovered the ships were carrying gravel intended for the power plant construction project.

Another DPP Legislator Chou Ya-shu (周雅淑), who had helped the fishermen negotiate with Taipower, accused the company of trying to cover up the illegal action.

While the shipper claimed that the gravel had arrived from Fujian province via Hong Kong on a route approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Chou said she checked with the Keelung Harbor Bureau and confirmed that the ships had sailed directly from Wenzhou (溫州), Zhejiang Province.

"We strongly suspect that there was some kind of underground collaboration between the construction company and government officials," Chou said.

Jao Yung-ching (趙永清), an anti-nuclear legislator from the KMT, demanded authorities launch an investigation into the case immediately.

"In addition to violating the ban on direct cross-strait shipping, authorities concerned must check if there was any violation against the National Security Law and other anti-smuggling regulations," Jao said.

Local residents and environmentalists have been bitterly opposed to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, but the case of illegal shipping has fueled opponents' anger.

This was also not the first time the construction company working on the power project has broken the law. Environmentalists earlier discovered that the construction company had been dumping waste soil into the sea, which they said damaged marine ecology and caused pollution.

Faced with legislators' allegations, Taipower President Kuo Junne-huey (郭俊惠) yesterday insisted that Taipower shouldn't be forced to shoulder full blame for the incident, since the construction project had been contracted to the construction company.

"According to the commercial contract, the construction company or shipping company is responsible for the ships' sailing route and other details," Kuo said.

"Whether there were any irregularities will be determined by justice authorities."

The DPP is nominally opposed to the power plant, but has not yet moved to stop its construction.

This story has been viewed 3407 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top