Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear Power Debate: TSU proposes mandatory referendums in localities

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mandatory local referendums would be crucial in protecting people’s lives, which is the No. 1 priority in discussing the dispute over construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City (新北市), the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

“This is why the TSU would propose to amend the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法) by authorizing a mandatory local referendum to be held in a 50km radius evacuation zone from any installation of nuclear reactors, fuel rods and nuclear power plant operations,” TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) told a press conference.

As political parties have engaged in heated debates over the high threshold of the current Referendum Act (公民投票法), Huang said, the amendment would help the policy debate move forward.

If the regulation was amended, a local referendum in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung City and Yilan County — the four administrative zones that face a direct impact if a nuclear disaster occurred — would be held with the outcome of the referendum determined by simple plurality, Huang said.

The Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposal to lower the unusually high threshold stated in the referendum act would be time-consuming and likely be vetoed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the legislature, he added.

Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) founder and former chairman Shih Hsin-min (施信民) said people who live within a 50km radius of a nuclear power plant are those most entitled to have a say about the plant, and this was a common practice in other countries.

If people who live on the outlying islands could vote in local referendums to determine whether a casino resort would be built and whether they would accept the storage of nuclear waste, the people in northern Taiwan should also be able to have their voices heard on the issue of a nuclear power plant, Shih said.

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