Mon, Mar 01, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Anti-nuclear activists laud DPP's attitude

GREEN POWER A questionnaire showed that the DPP is more in tune with global nuclear power trends than the KMT, which scorns renewable energy sources

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) attitude toward nuclear power issues and energy policies is keeping abreast with global trends, whereas Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) remains in favor of nuclear power rather than using renewable energy sources, a group of anti-nuclear activists said yesterday.

The No Nuke Taiwan Union (非核台灣聯盟), which was formed by activists from more than 88 civic and environmental groups early last month, sent a questionnaire containing 12 questions about energy policies and nuclear topics to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT on Feb. 19.

According to the union's convener, Cheng Hsien-yu (鄭先祐), the questionnaire was designed to determine both camps' attitude toward the promotion of renewable energy sources, the efficient use of energy, green industries, liber-alization of the power industry, nuclear safety and other nuclear-related issues.

Cheng said that the DPP's attitudes are similar to those of environmentalists engaged in the promotion of sustainable energy sources, but that the pan-blue camp remained an advocate of policies that had been established by the former KMT government before the 2000 presidential election.

"For example, President Chen Shui-bian now prefers holding a referendum to decide the future of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, while the KMT's Lien Chan would like to have the construction completed at any cost," Cheng said at a press conference yesterday.

Shih Shin-min (施信民) of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union said it was a shame that the KMT's approach was so outdated.

"We are not surprised at the pan-blue camp's reluctance to liberalize the power industry," Shih said.

Mary Chen (陳曼麗), chairwoman of the Homemakers' Union and Foundation, said the KMT's response to the questionnaire did not clearly explain how it proposes to restructure the country's energy supplies, how to deal with radioactive waste or how to ensure the public's safety.

She said that the pan-blue camp lags behind the DPP in its awareness of global trends in sustainable development.

However, Chen said that activists are slightly worried about the DPP's forthright answers.

"The DPP had to eat some of its words about environmental issues after its victory in the 2000 presidential election, including its promise to scrap the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant," she said.

"We estimate that only 20 percent of Taiwanese people are aware of nuclear power problems. That's not enough to enable us to phase out nuclear power plants in the nation," said the No Nuke Taiwan Union's deputy convener, Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華).

According to the union, more than 300 workshops and forums will be held nationwide before July to promote sustainable development and energy-related issues.

Meanwhile, some anti-nuclear activists are set to start a 10-day nonviolent demonstration in front of the Legislative Yuan today by fasting in rotating groups to urge the legislature to halve the number of seats.

Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄), one of the founders of the Nuke-4 Referendum Initiative Association, will join other activists in the fast.

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