Wed, Mar 06, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear Power Debate: DPP officials urge Chu to take stand on nuclear plant

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politicians yesterday urged New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor (朱立倫) to clearly state his position on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Gongliao District (貢寮), saying that as the head of the administrative zone where three nuclear power plants are located, there should be no ambiguity regarding his position on the issue.

On Monday, Chu said that Taiwan is not qualified to use nuclear energy because it is still unable to deal with the problem of nuclear waste, and that the safety issue should be a priority over the construction of another nuclear power plant.

The DPP’s New Taipei City office director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and its Taipei City office director Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said that Chu’s remarks “failed to look after the interests of residents in New Taipei City” and he sounded “more like [he was] speaking in the capacity of a president.”

As the country is engaged in heated debate over a national referendum on whether to suspend construction of the nuclear power plant — which has already cost more than NT$300 billion (US$10 billion) — the first question for Chu as New Taipei City mayor is whether the votes of city residents should be weighted in the national poll because of the direct impact of the power plant on their lives, Lo said.

“It seemed to me that Chu made those comments with the political competition between him and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) in mind. That was why he spoke more like a premier or a president, rather than the New Taipei City mayor,” Lo added.

Regarding Chu’s pledge that a nuclear safety watchdog committee under his administration would monitor the power plant’s safety measures to the strictest standards, Lo said that no individual or institution is able to guarantee the safety of a nuclear power plant, because there is always the risk of accidents occurring.

Lo urged Chu to stop the rhetoric and state his position publicly, adding that the mayor likely holds an anti-nuclear stance, judging from his remarks in interviews.

Chuang also questioned Chu’s ambiguous position, saying the mayor “is most qualified to voice the city’s opposition to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.”

“He should have been more outspoken about the safety of city residents and their livelihoods,” Chuang said.

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