Environmental activists and residents from New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) launched a sit-in demonstration in front of the Executive Yuan yesterday, asking the government to act quickly to stop the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, also known as the Longmen plant.
Holding lilies in their hands, about 100 protesters first mourned and prayed for the people affected by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan. They later called for the immediate suspension of construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and strict adherence to Article 23 of the Basic Environment Act (環境基本法), which states the government must plan to gradually achieve the goal of making Taiwan a nuclear-free country.
The Longmen plant is built on a site in Yenliao (鹽寮) in Gongliao District
Saying he was saddened by what happened in Fukushima, Wu Wen-tung (吳文通), ex-president of the Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association, said: “The nation [Taiwan] does not have the ability to cope with a nuclear crisis.”
“The fourth nuclear power plant is a machine assembled by different contractors. We should the stop the machine immediately,” he said. “The government should also re-evaluate the safety of the first three nuclear power plants.”
Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣), secretary general of Green Citizen Action’s Alliance, said that both the Swiss and the Thai governments have delayed plans to build nuclear power plants after the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power plant.
Meanwhile, Germany decided to shut down seven old nuclear power plants and temporarily stopped plans to extend the service of other nuclear power plants, she said. The EU also began conducting stress test on all the reactors in all the EU nations, including the assessment of the potential damage to the plants from earthquakes and floods.
Tsuei said that several industrial accidents had been reported at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant since the end of last year. She also said that the nation’s largest electricity supplier was found to have unilaterally changed the design of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in 700 places last week.
“The Japanese and Taiwanese governments should not put innocent lives in danger by hiding disaster reports and not informing the public about the risks of nuclear energy use,” Tsuei said.
“We ask President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to stop the high-risk nuclear energy policy,” Tsuei added. “We also oppose the plan to install fuel rods in such a dangerous power plant [as the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant].”
Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎) of National Taiwan University urged those opposing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to gather at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on Sunday and jointly ask the government to terminate its nuclear power policy.
Should there be an earthquake or a tsunami, Kao said he estimated the chance of Taipei and New Taipei City having a nuclear crisis is 3.3 percent.