DPP rebuffs opposition

NUCLEAR POWER: The ruling party dismissed in no uncertain terms an opposition demand to restart construction of the controversial nuclear power plant


Thu, Feb 08, 2001 - Page 3

The DPP yesterday bluntly rejected a demand by the opposition to resume construction of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) as the party's Central Standing Committee accused opposition deputies of blocking the way to resolve the dispute.

In a strongly-worded statement, the DPP said the opposition's demand that construction of the US$5.5 billion project be resumed immediately before they restart negotiations was out of the question.

"[This demand] is unacceptable and we condemn the opposition coalition," the DPP statement said.

Opposition parties stood their ground yesterday.

"We regret that they feel this way," New Party lawmaker Lai Shyh-bao (賴士保) said. "Whether to build the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is the Cabinet's problem to solve. Tough talk won't help," Lai said.

One of the main disputes between the Cabinet and the opposition-dominated legislature was whether to let a newly elected legislature decide whether to budget more money for the project this year. The opposition coalition is opposed to the idea, arguing that the nuclear power plant is a done deal.

Another proposal is for an energy law which would include the nuclear power plant, but the legislature and the government disagree over who should draft it.

The government frowns on the idea of drafting an energy law that would call for a nuclear power station because it is opposed to nuclear power.

Opposition legislators argue they lack the technical expertise to draft such a bill, which would encompass the island's future energy development needs.

However, former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), one of the party's strongest opponents to nuclear energy, broke his silence yesterday lashing out at President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in a letter to the president and senior DPP leaders.

"The dispute over whether Taiwan should be a nuclear-free country is small. It's Chen's style of policymaking that is the real problem," Lin said.