Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of “spurning the public” by declaring that he would not change his policy on nuclear energy.
Lu made the comments at a press conference with anti-nuclear organizations and academics, during which Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) founding chairman Shih Hsin-min (施信民) said the union would push for a referendum on whether fuel rods should be instlaled in the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which is under construction in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).
If the government does not think the issue should be open to a local vote, the union would welcome a national referendum, Shih said.
Lu criticized Ma and Taiwan Power Corp over recent nuclear safety drills, saying they were “only for show” and had no practical use.
Residents within a 5km radius of the nuclear plant should participate in the drills so they would know how to react in case of an emergency, she said.
The Ma administration should also, in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Environment Act (環境基本法), set up a committee to pave the way for the establishment of a nuclear-free nation and invite the public and authorities to participate in the meetings, Lu said.
After the nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Germany convened a Nuclear Power Ethics Committee meeting between experts and academics, which decided to completely halt operations of all nuclear power plants within a decade and boost research into alternative sources of energy, Lu said.
The committee also agreed to immediately cease operations at seven old nuclear power plants, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 3 decided to shut down -another nuclear power plant, Lu said.
The whole nuclear-suspension plan will be submitted to the German parliament next month, Lu said, adding that Taiwan could learn from that experience.
Ma’s statement that a nuclear power plant could be shut down in the event of a disaster showed ignorance, former TEPU chairman Gloria Hsu (徐光蓉) said.
Despite efforts by Tokyo Electric Power Co to shut down the -generator during the Fukushima incident, the crisis only escalated, she said.
It shows that someone in the government is giving Ma the wrong information, causing him to make incorrect decisions, Hsu said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER