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Thu, Mar 08, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Hau firm on nuclear plant issue

CHANGE OF COMMAND Hau Lung-bin assured DPP legislators that he will act according to the law when he makes a decision on the environmental impact assessment for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

New EPA chief Hau Lung-bin answers questions from reporters about his policies on the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant during a press conference at the Government Information Office yesterday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

The two new Cabinet appointees who will be most closely involved with the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) continued yesterday to demonstrate their strong support for the resumption of the project.

Former Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Lin Jun-yi (林俊義) yesterday handed over the reins of leadership to Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), saying that success in environmental protection work depended not on any particular individual but on a "professional team like the EPA staff."

The decision on whether or not to redo the nuclear plant's environmental impact assessment (EIA) is now one of the big challenges facing Hau.

Yesterday afternoon Hau visited the different party caucuses in the legislature to solicit support for himself in his new position as EPA head.

DPP legislators, however, reminded Hau of the need to be impartial when he considers the assessment.

When Hau announced that he would take the EPA post on March 4, he stressed that his support for the resumption of construction of the plant would not waver.

Hau later responded to the DPP legislators' remarks at the New Party caucus office.

He said he wanted to stress that "on the EIA issue, the EPA will behave in accordance with the law."

It had previously been widely reported that Hau had said that he would not consider redoing the plant's assessment because he believed that calls for it to be redone were simply a delaying tactic on the part of the DPP.

Since the Cabinet reshuffle was finalized, the DPP caucus in the Legislative Yuan has called upon both Hau and new Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Chairman Hu Chin-piao (胡錦標) to take heed of censures related to the plant issued by the Control Yuan in 1999.

That Taipower (台電) received a license to construct the plant despite changing the power output of its reactors from 1,000 megawatts each to 1,350 megawatts without redoing the EIA has been one of the most controversial issues surrounding the plant since 1999.

The appointment of Cabinet figures in favor of the plant has further reduced the likelihood that the decision to resume construction will be reversed.

AEC Chairman Hu said yesterday that a planned final repository for low-level radioactive waste on Wuchiu island (烏坵鄉), Kinmen County, might be one solution to the waste problems.

Hu said that AEC officials were confident in radioactive waste disposal technologies and that he would seek support for the plan from Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

In terms of environmental protection, however, whether Taipower will receive approval for the repository remains to be seen.

The EPA reviewed the assessment for the repository on March 5 for the first time.

However, because the meeting was chaired by a former EPA political appointee, deputy administrator James Lee (李界木), who was about to step down with former EPA head Lin, no final decision was made.

The EPA's EIA committee members, however, told the Taipei Times yesterday that most of them were far from satisfied with the assessment proposal.

They demanded that Taipower supply further information within one month.

"Some of us actually suggested in the meeting that the report should have been killed," Yang Chao-yueh (楊肇岳), one of the committee members, told the Taipei Times.

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