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Fri, Dec 08, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Legislators reject Atomic Energy Council's budget

POWER PLANTAfter questioning the energy council's request for funds for the already-cancelled Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project, lawmakers voted against the budget

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators rejected the Atomic Energy Council's (AEC) budget late yesterday evening after it listed items which included funds for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant which the Executive Yuan decided to scrap in October.

In the budget proposal document presented by the AEC yesterday, about NT$12 million was marked for the nuclear power plant. Legislators from the Sci-tech Information Committee rejected the budget with a vote of 9 to 5.

"If the plant is to be cancelled, why do you ask for money?" KMT Legislator Lin Yi-shin (林益世), asked the AEC Chairman Hsia Der-yu (夏德鈺).

Hsia argued, however, that the legal basis for the plant had not changed.

"The future of the plant is dependent on a decision by the Council of Grand Justices," he said.

The legitimacy of canceling the plant has been disputed since Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) announced the decision in October. Under pressure from opposition parties, the Executive Yuan has appealed to the Council of Grand Justices to judge the constitutionality of the decision it made.

The first meeting of the Council to discuss the issue is scheduled for Dec. 21.

According to the AEC's budget, NT$8.54 million was set aside for developing regulatory technology to ensure the safety of two advanced boiling water reactors. The two reactors were to be installed at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. An additional NT$3.3 million was proposed for regulating the safety of the plant during the process of its construction.

Hsia said he did not mind if the budget for the plant was cut, but added that if the government later decided to continue with the project, additional requests for funds might be necessary.

Meanwhile, Hsia admitted yesterday that the Executive Yuan had recently requested help from the AEC to rewrite the document it originally used to announce the plant's cancellation in late October.

The announcement and the reasons it listed for the plant's cancellation were criticized recently by 37 nuclear engineering professors from National Tsing Hua University.

Professors at Tsing Hua University, where nuclear energy research in Taiwan was initiated, said that the reasons were "unprofessional."

Hsia said yesterday that the AEC had refused to work with the Cabinet on the document.

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