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Grand Justices vote to review nuclear plant

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Grand Justices has decided to review constitutional debates surrounding termination of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, according to the Judicial Yuan.

By an 11-to-4 vote, the council decided on Thursday that the debates over the nuclear plant are constitutional issues and so subject to its review and interpretation. However, the Judicial Yuan noted yesterday that the Thursday decision is just the first step and the proceedings will continue for some time before the council can determine the constitutionality of the issue.

Early yesterday, rumors were circulating on the floor of the stock market that a majority of the Grand Justices supported construction of the nuclear power plant and that the justices had already ruled that the termination of the plant was unconstitutional.

However, the Judicial Yuan refuted the rumors yesterday, saying the case is only entering the initial phase of proceedings and it is premature to predict the council's judgment.

The council has the authority to determine types of cases to review and the decision is made by a vote. A case will be accepted with a yes vote by more than a half of the Grand Justices.

Following the Thursday vote, the council is to begin a review on the nuclear power plant case. But there is no telling when the final ruling will come out as no deadline is imposed on the council's business.

According to the Judicial Yuan, the four justices voting against accepting the case believed it was a policy debate and should have been resolved through political means. However, the majority held it was a constitutional issue.

Despite public opposition, the KMT-dominated legislature passed a budget for the nuclear power plant in 1994 and reconfirmed it in 1996. However, the new DPP government decided in late October to scrap the project because of environmental concerns.

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