Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Poll finds public supports power plant

VOICE OF THE PEOPLE While almost half of those asked said they wanted a referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, 52 percent said they wanted it completed

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than half of respondents to a recent poll said they supported completing construction of the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

The survey, conducted by the Cabinet's Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, also indicated that 49 percent of the public think that the government should hold a referendum on or before presidential election day on March 20 next year to decide the fate of the plant.

After it came to power in 2000, the DPP tried to stop the plant's construction in accordance with its policy of making the country nuclear free. It has come under increasing pressure recently from residents near the construction site and former DPP members to hold a referendum on the plant, which is more than half completed and scheduled to begin operation in 2006.

"If the referendum is held, 52 percent of those polled expressed support to continue construction of the nuclear power plant, while 24 percent of them opposed the idea," the commission said in a press release.

The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday of last week, interviewed 1,076 people above the age of 20. The margin of error was 3 percent.

In addition to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue, the poll also surveyed the public on a number of issues, including the government's anti-SARS efforts, the recent passage of four financial bills and whether private security guards should be allowed to carry guns.

The results of the poll showed that 65 percent of the public approved a NT$120 billion government package to reduce the impact of the SARS epidemic, while 53 percent thought that the passage of four economic-stimulus bills in a recently completed special legislative session would be conducive to revitalizing the economy.

The poll also found that 48 percent of the public approved of private security guards being allowed to carry guns.

A series of bank robberies across the country has led to an increase in the use of private guards by banks unable to rely on the police for security. Currently only the police are allowed to carry guns.

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