Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) yesterday said it would hold a signature drive at the five-day Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival in New Taipei City (新北市) starting tomorrow in an effort to stop the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant near the rock festival’s venue.
TEPU chairman Lin Wen-yinn (林文印) said the annual rock festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Fulong Beach (福隆海灘) in Gongliao District (貢寮) to enjoy music in beautiful surroundings, but the ongoing construction of a nuclear power plant near to the beach is destroying the environment.
“We hope that visitors who join the rock festival in pursuit of beautiful music and self-expression will also put their passion into the pursuit of a safe and beautiful environment,” he said.
Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), a professor at National Taiwan University and a former TEPU chairman, said the group had initiated a petition for a local referendum in New Taipei City, asking residents whether fuel rods should be installed to start test operations at the plant.
The petition has already gathered about 12,000 signatures since its launch last summer, Kao said, adding that according to the law, it needs about 15,000 signatures to pass the first phase to petition for a local referendum and about 150,000 signatures for the second phase.
Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association secretary-general Yang Mu-huo (楊木火) said that as a resident, he believed the construction should be halted with or without a referendum, because “the construction of the plant is a total mess.”
In addition, the construction of a pier at the plant has blocked the natural flow of the sand along the beach, draining away the soft sand on the beach, which the government has replaced with impure sand, Yang said, adding that wastewater from the plant would also destroy the marine ecology.
Visitors to the annual rock festival may soon find themselves bathing in warm seawater, or even water contaminated with radioactive waste, when the nuclear power plant starts operating, he said.
The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is not safe because it is a poorly assembled facility being built by Taiwan Power Co, which has no experience building a nuclear power plant by itself, Kao said, adding that more than NT$20 billion (US$66.7 million) on the construction and an additional NT$5 million supplementary budget are planned.
“The total expense of more of than NT$30 billion will be a heavy burden for Taiwan’s young people,” Kao said.
The group hopes to at least stop the additional supplementary budget from gaining approval, he said.
“Sign the referendum petition before you listen to music!” TEPU deputy secretary-general Lee Hsiu-jung (李秀容) said.
A petition booth will be set up at Fulong train station and a speech by the Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association will be held at 2:30pm on Thursday.