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Wed, Jan 17, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Village residents suspicious of energy officials

NUCLEAR PLANT The Energy Commission's secretary-general says he stands firm on supporting the plant's construction, but is willing to talk with residents of Kungliao


Officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Energy Com-mission said yesterday they would be willing to communicate with the residents of Kungliao township (貢寮鄉), Taipei County, where the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is located, in order to convey their support for the plant.

"I am personally in favor of continuing the project, but we officials still need to communicate with local residents in Kungliao," Chen Chao-yih (陳昭義), secretary-general of the Energy Commission told the media after being questioned by Control Yuan members yesterday morning.

Chen said that his stance in favor of the project would not change, although some alternatives to nuclear energy might be workable.

Chen said he told Control Yuan members during questioning that it was the Executive Yuan, rather than the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which had issued the official document halting the project.

Chen said that he supported the project because adopting nuclear energy was not dangerous. Last year, Chen said, he tried to persuade Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) to continue the project, but failed. Due to his differences with Lin, Chen said, he hoped to be transferred to another post.

"My decision has been made. It will not be influenced by the explanation given by the grand justices," Chen said.

Chen presented a letter to Lin on Nov. 21 last year asking for a transfer, citing "eye problems" as his main reason for the request.

Responding to Chen's remarks yesterday, anti-nuclear residents in Kungliao told the Taipei Times that they would refuse to communicate with Chen.

"We won't talk to a nuclear energy fanatic like Chen. We prefer to debate with him in public to counterbalance what energy officials always say," said Wu Wen-tung (吳文通), an anti-nuclear activist in Kungliao.

Wu said that he was disappointed at Chen's reluctance to cooperate with Lin in order to develop new strategies in the energy sectors.

Wu said that political figures involved in the controversy, including Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), should visit Kungliao to listen to the true voice of the residents.

"Why did Lin decide to scrap the plant? Because he visited Kungliao, listened to us, and considered the issue in accordance with his conscience," Wu said, adding that political figures of opposition parties should give Lin a chance to try out new energy strategies.

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