Wed, May 30, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Civic groups rally against reactivating nuclear plant

ATOMIC ENERGY:The protests took on various forms, including a flash mob, and demanded that the president recognize how many were opposed to the reactivation

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Activists gather to form the Chinese character ren, which means “human being,” during a protest yesterday against the reactivation of the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant, which was temporarily shut down due to safety concerns, in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei. The green signs read, “[President] Ma Ying-jeou said no one disagrees with the nuclear policy,” left, and “President Ma, there are 14,340 people against the nuclear policy,” right.

Photo: Reuters

More than 50 people from 23 civic organizations protested yesterday in front of the Presidential Office against the resumption of operations at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市).

The Green Citizens’ Action Alliance (GCAA), which led the protest, said seven of the 60 anchor bolts in the inner rim of the first reactor at the power plant were found to be broken or fractured during routine maintenance and safety checks in March.

They said they fear that Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), which operates the nation’s nuclear power plants, is not being honest.

GCAA deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) quoted Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) as saying that he would resign if any accident occurred at the nuclear power plant within 18 months after it resumes operations, adding that they fear the council would agree to Taipower’s request to quickly resume operations.

The anchor bolts were originally designed to have the same lifespan as the reactor, but unprecedented structural problems have occurred whose causes have yet to be clarified, Hung said, adding that allowing the resumption of operations at this point would “disregard human life.”

A student protester surnamed Kuo (郭) said: “We are often afraid to disturb others, but if a nuclear disaster occurs, it will affect the lives of many people, so we should not be afraid to disturb others on this matter, so that more people can acquire the correct information on nuclear power.”

“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant is dangerous. We are all human. We are against it,” the demonstrators shouted.

On Monday, flash mobs led by director Ko I-chen (柯一正) and several other directors and artists demonstrated in the middle of Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and at Taipei Railway Station, with 60 people forming the Chinese character ren, or “human,” while shouting “I am human, I am against nuclear power.”

Resonating with the flash mob, the protesters yesterday used two red banners, with nearly 15,000 names of people who signed an Internet petition against resuming operations at the power plant printed on them and formed the character ren on the road, urging Ma not to neglect the voices of the people.

The GCAA said Ma had said that “when we brought up the [nuclear] policy, we felt that no one was against it at the time, so we will continue in this direction,” at a press conference on May 19, so they wanted to show the president that there are many people against nuclear energy.

A petition was delivered to the Presidential Office after the protest.

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