About 50 people holding flags reading “No nukes, No more Fukushima” stood at the gate of the Executive Yuan in an anti-nuclear demonstration yesterday, calling on Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to reject a proposal to pass an additional budget for the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The safety of the yet-to-be-completed plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) has become the topic of heated controversy.
With handwritten messages such as “I am a student,” “I am a social worker,” “I work on a farm,” “I sing rap,” or “I am a mother” written on their flags, the protestors, who hailed from all walks of life, together shouted “reject the additional budget [proposal] for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, stop the dangerous plant.”
The demonstration’s convenor, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰), said the budget for the construction of the plant has gradually increased from NT$169.7 billion (US$5 billion) to NT$280 billion, and there are also plans to request further funds in the first half of this year.
While previous decisions were said to have been made by specialists, now billions of dollars were being spent constructing a plant that has many safety problems, Hung said, encouraging people to learn about nuclear power and not leave all the decisions to specialists.
The alliance said that the Executive Yuan has the authority to deny or approve any proposed additional funds and it urged the new Cabinet to reject the budget proposal for the plant.
Lee Chien-chen (李建誠), a member of the 248 Market, a weekend farmers’ market, said consumers do not dare purchase any agricultural products produced near Fukushima following the nuclear disaster.
If the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant goes into commercial operation and an accident occurs, agricultural products from nearby would also be affected, Lee said.
The demonstrators also presented a photo album consisting of pictures of people holding the anti-nuclear flags at various locations. The demonstrators hoped the photos would serve to remind the Cabinet of Taiwan’s natural beauty and how it could be endangered by nuclear power.
They also vowed they would never give up and would do all they could to stop the approval of the additional funds and the insertion of the reactors’ fuel rods.
Meanwhile, at a separate setting, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should immediately announce the suspension of the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant without holding a referendum on this issue.
Although an anti-nuclear referendum proposal was initiated by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and numerous environmental groups, Su told the legislature that if Ma was determined, he should stop the construction by himself.
“Actually, it is not necessary to hold a referendum,” he said.
Su said the DPP has insisted on making Taiwan nuclear-free in 30 years.
After the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, he said, the whole world was promoting non-nuclear initatives. The party asked Ma to immediately suspend the construction of the plant, refuse to earmark further funds and halt the loading of the fuel rods at the yet-to-be-completed plant.
The chairman added that the DPP is determined to enact a law that stipulates that Taiwan is a non-nuclear country.