Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Lu launches bid for nuclear referendum

THREE-STAGE PLAN:Annette Lu says residents of New Taipei City could make a change to the government’s pro-nuclear position by pushing for a referendum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu, fifth left, presides over the launch of an anti-nuclear campaign truck in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday launched an anti-nuclear referendum drive in New Taipei City (新北市) against the establishment of dry storage facilities for spent fuel rods and the operation of the yet-to-be-completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮).

Lu, an advocate of a “nuclear-free homeland,” said the safety of Taiwanese, especially those in northern Taiwan, was in jeopardy, with three nuclear power plants along the northern coast, but the government has ignored the public’s voice.

“With the passage of the Act Governing New Taipei Referendums (新北市公民投票自治條例) on June 25, people in New Taipei City, the city with the highest nuclear power plant density in the world with three plants, can make a change,” Lu told a press conference outside the Taipei International Convention Center, where Taipower Co was holding a public hearing on the establishment of dry casks for spent nuclear fuels in the first and second nuclear power plants in Jinshan District (金山) and Wanli District (萬里) respectively.

Lu said she had a three-phase plan for the referendum, which could be an opportunity for the public to alter the government’s insistence on the use of nuclear power.

The first phase is a four-vehicle motorcade, which is scheduled to tour the 28 districts in New Taipei City from yesterday through July 26 before making its way into Taipei City from July 27 to July 31 to raise anti-nuclear awareness among residents, she said.

The second phase would begin next month, when Lu and representatives from various civic groups would visit local opinion leaders.

The final phase would be the signature collection for the referendum petition, she said, adding that it was a hard-won opportunity for residents to have a say about the place they live.

If residents in Matsu could vote for the establishment of a casino resort with a referendum, residents in New Taipei City should also be able to determine whether they want nuclear power plants by a referendum,” said Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) New Taipei City office.

Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲), convener of Green Party of Taiwan, said the New Taipei City anti-nuclear referendum movement was a nonpartisan effort and called for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to join in the initiative.

“Taiwan is the only country in the world which has not only one, but three nuclear power plants near its capital,” Pan said.

Hsu Fu-hsiung (許富雄), a resident of Jinshan, which is located between the first and the second nuclear power plants, said residents did not believe Taipower could manage nuclear safety.

“If something bad happens, the ones who have to pay the price are not just the residents in Jinshan, but people of the entire nation. Let’s not forget that,” Hsu said.

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