Tue, Mar 06, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Group raises nuclear awareness

NEVER FORGET:A political analyst said the lessons from Japan’s nuclear crisis should be remembered and discussed to pass on a clean environment to future generations

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

Author Neil Peng wears a mask with a bleeding nose drawn on it as he speaks at an anti-nuclear press conference at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

A dozen people from arts and literary circles gathered at the legislature yesterday to express their opposition to nuclear power, announce their participation in the anti-nuclear movement and raise public awareness about the possibility of a nuclear disaster in Taiwan.

About a week before the first anniversary of the nuclear crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the artists and writers said the government has long touted nuclear power as a “clean, safe, eco-friendly and cheap” source of energy, but the crisis in Japan has taught people a lesson about its dangers.

The group urged the pubic to join an anti-nuclear power parade on Sunday and to support their “My home doesn’t rely on nuclear power” movement.

Political analyst Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏), who chaired the meeting, said he was shocked when he visited Japan about 20 years ago and found that many young people were unaware of the risk posed by mercury pollution, which can lead to Minamata Disease, after a pollution scandal was exposed in that country in the 1950s and 1960s.

In that same vein, the lessons from last year’s nuclear crisis must not be forgotten and should be discussed in the hope of passing on a clean environment to future generations, Yang said.

Film director and actor Arika Chen (陳文彬) said the biggest hurdles facing the anti-nuclear energy movement were that Taiwanese have few options in their sources of electricity and many do not understand how the electricity they use is generated, which is why many could be led to believe that abolishing nuclear power would lead to power shortages.

The government should disclose information about the electricity usage structure to let us understand how much electricity is consumed by energy-intensive industries and what benefit people are getting from it, Chen said.

“I support the public, but am against violence,” Chen said, adding that nuclear power has been forced on Taiwanese and that the storage of nuclear waste on Orchid Island (蘭嶼) was a form of violence against the Tao Aborigines who reside there.

The decision to use nuclear power was made by our generation, Chen said, but future generations are being forced to suffer the consequences.

“I often write about the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and many famous rockers are publicly against nuclear power because they are against dictators,” music critic and author Chang Tieh-chih (張鐵志) said.

The anti-nuclear movement was also about democracy, Chang said, because the risk of a nuclear disaster forces people to talk about the issue, to reflect on what kind of values they hold dear and what kind of industrial policy a nation should adopt.

Local artist Tsui Kuang-yu (崔廣宇) said that as Taiwan is an island, people should think about using renewable energy sources, such as wind or sea power.

“I suspect many nuclear policy decisionmakers don’t really care about the risks because their families have already moved to the US or other countries,” said Neil Peng (馮光遠), award-winning screenwriter of The Wedding Banquet (喜宴). “But the rest of us have to stay on this land if a nuclear disaster ever happens, so we need to take the issue seriously,” he said.

“People who have more knowledge of nuclear safety issues have to keep talking about it, to raise the public’s awareness,” Peng said.

National Chengchi University Department of Radio and Television associate professor Kuo Li-shin (郭力昕) said people with expertise or knowledge of the topic should stand together on nuclear power because “everyone is in this boat together. Only a few people would escape should a nuclear disaster ever take place.”

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