A public opinion survey released yesterday showed that Taiwanese are more opposed to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) than the use of nuclear energy in general, with nearly 60 percent of respondents saying they opposed completing the construction of the plant and 50 percent saying they were against nuclear power.
The survey was conducted by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research between Wednesday and Thursday last week, and focused on nuclear issues. The poll followed nationwide anti-nuclear demonstrations that drew 200,000 participants over the weekend and was released yesterday on the second anniversary of the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011.
When asked about Taiwan’s use of nuclear energy, the poll found that 52.5 percent of respondents did not disapprove of keeping the three nuclear power plants currently in operation running, but did not want any new plants to be built, with 18.5 percent saying that all nuclear power plants should be shut down, 12 percent supporting the construction of new plants and 17 percent saying they had no opinion on the matter.
Half of those polled said they disapproved of using nuclear power as a source of energy, with 29 percent expressing “strong disapproval,” compared with the 34.3 percent of respondents who were in favor of nuclear power and 15.7 percent who said they were undecided.
When asked about continuing the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, 58 percent of respondents said construction should be stopped, while 25.1 percent said the project should be completed and 16.9 percent abstained from answering.
A breakdown of the poll results found that more than half of the 58 percent of those surveyed who supported suspending construction of the plant — which represented 34.7 percent of all respondents — advocated permanently stopping construction.
Meanwhile, 16.8 percent of respondents favored a temporary suspension and making the final decision after a safety check is carried out, with 6.5 percent agreeing that the project should be temporarily stalled, but that a national referendum should decide the matter.
The majority of the 25.1 percent of those polled who favored completing the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant — 23.1 percent — said the plant should operate after it is finished, with the remaining 2 percent saying it should not be made operational after it is built.
The results showed that the public is more skeptical about the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant specifically, than nuclear energy in general, Taiwan Indicator Survey Research general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said, adding that the survey seemed to suggest that opposition to the project and nuclear energy were viewed as two separate issues by many people.
The survey collected 1,007 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.