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Tue, May 08, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Construction delays condemned

DELAYS KMT lawmakers inspecting the site of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant yesterday decried the lack of construction activity and Taipower's failure to fulfill its commitments


Construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant officially resumed on Feb. 24, but contractors have been unable to get back to work due to a lack of capital and other difficulties. Only a small number of workers were seen at the site yesterday.


Legislators criticized Taiwan Power Company (Taipower 台電) yesterday for delays in resuming construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) and demanded a monthly report outlining the percentage of completed construction.

Officials of Taipower, however, said that the resumption of construction had to be initiated step by step.

A dozen KMT legislators, members of the Economics and Energy Committee (經濟及能源委員會), yesterday morning inspected the construction site of the nuclear plant in Kungliao township (貢寮), Taipei County.

At a workshop, contractors working at Taipower's Lungmen construction office (龍門施工處) in Kungliao told the legislators that Taipower had not paid them contractual dues or refunded their deposits after their contracts were rescinded when the Cabinet decided to halt construction last October.

Some contractors complained that because banks had little confidence in the project, it was very difficult to borrow money for re-bidding.

Tseng Tsai Mei-tso (曾蔡美佐), the host of the workshop and a convener of the committee, said that banks' continuing lack of confidence in the project could be attributed to the ruling DPP's call for a referendum on the controversial plant's future.

In addition, legislators who inspected the plant's construction site were upset with the abandoned appearance of the site, saying that such a serious lag in construction is a major safety concern.

Lin Ching-chi (林清吉), president of Taipower, told legislators that his company had tried to help contractors, especially those in financial difficulties, get through the transition period.

"We still hope that construction of Unit One (一號機) of the plant will be completed by July 2005, which is the original deadline," Lin said.

KMT legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), however, said that there is no reason to believe Taipower could or would meet deadlines it has set for the project.

"The financial losses due to the delay should not be borne by electricity users. Therefore, we strongly demand a monthly report outlining the percentage of completed construction," Tseng said.

In Kungliao, local anti-nuclear activists seem to have lost the spirit to fight the plant over what they call "the deception" of the DPP-led central government.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) promised Kungliao residents during the presidential campaign in early 2000 that he would do his best to scrap the plant. But Chen failed to do so.

Activists from anti-nuclear groups are continuing calls for the government to stay focused on the negative impacts caused by the construction.

"Based on recent observations, half of the beach at Fulung (福隆海水浴場) has been destroyed by the construction of a port for the plant," said Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑), secretary-general of the Green Citizens Action Alliance (GCAA綠色公民行動聯盟).

Lai said that workers operating dump trucks were too busy to dump sea sand transferred from other locations to the beach to restore the environment. "The beach is scheduled to open next month, but the Fulung environment is in no condition for it," Lai said.

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