Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 2 News List

AEC minister faces more questions about nuclear plant

Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) told lawmakers yesterday that he had submitted his resignation in May, but was urged to stay on.

Tsai made the remarks while responding to questions from lawmakers about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and recent resignations by a number of officials. The plant under construction in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), has been controversial for years, but even more so after the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in March.

Shieh Der-jhy (謝得志) resigned as council deputy minister last month, while Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Safety Monitoring Committee member Lin Tsung-yao (林宗堯) also tendered his resignation after questioning the safety of the new plant in a paper titled: “Essay on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant” in August.

At a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) asked Tsai whether Shieh’s departure was linked to the plant’s safety problems.

Tsai said he also wanted to step down when he heard about Shieh’s decision. He said he wanted to resign because he felt “incompetent” — not because of pressure linked to the plant — but his resignation was not approved by the Executive Yuan.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) voiced concern that the remaining members of the Safety Monitoring Committee do not have enough expertise to deal with the plant’s safety issues, since two of its four specialists have resigned, and most of the other members are representatives from the council or the local government.

KMT Legislator Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) asked if the resignations were triggered by political pressure.

Tsai denied feeling any pressure and said he had always encouraged committee members and council officials to speak the truth.

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