Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Poll shows power plant concerns

DOUBT:A DDP official said that analysis of the poll showed differences in attitude toward nuclear power, but a majority of respondents were doubtful of its use

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Li-chiun, left, is joined by Lo Chih-cheng, head of the party’s New Taipei City branch, as she releases the results of an opinion poll showing that 60 percent or residents in Taipei, Keelung and New Taipei City are in favor of discontinuing the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

An opinion poll shows that a little more than 89 percent of residents in Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung favor a nuclear energy-free Taiwan and 83 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability to deal with a possible nuclear disaster.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) yesterday released the results of an opinion poll on the public’s knowledge of, confidence in and attitudes toward nuclear power and in particular the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City.

There are currently two nuclear power plants in operation and one, the fourth plant, under construction in New Taipei City.

“Up to 71.6 percent of the people surveyed said they did not know that the government is planning to insert fuel rods into the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant before the end of next year,” Cheng said, adding that up to 63.7 percent of respondents did not know that there are high levels of radioactive waste, in the form of spent fuel rods, still kept at the plants and the amount has already exceeded the designed storage capacity.

“This shows that the government is carrying out their plans secretly, keeping information from the general public,” she said

The survey found that 61.3 percent of respondents know that about 7.36 million people live within a 60km radius of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, but the emergency evacuation area planned for by the government only covers 5km, she added.

The poll results also showed severe doubts about the plant, with 67 percent of respondents having no confidence in its safety operations, 63.8 percent being in favor of halting its construction and 78.2 percent agreeing that the public should be able to make a decision through a referendum on whether the construction should continue.

DPP New Taipei City headquarters director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said people in the three cities are worried about the safety of the plant and also about the government’s ability to handle a disaster. While they are in favor of Taiwan becoming nuclear energy-free, they want the decision to be made through a referendum, Lo said.

Lo said cross-reference analysis on the survey results showed some differences in attitude toward the plant — with people in the pan-blue camp having more confidence in nuclear power policies, but on average, respondents were doubtful of their use.

The nation’s electricity reserves during the peak-usage months of July and August last year

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