Wed, Apr 17, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Government poll shows support for plant

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

More than half of the respondents in a government poll expressed their support for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, according to the Research, Development and Research Commission.

Asked their opinion on the power plant being built in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), 54.4 percent of respondents said they support the plant if safety is not a concern, while 38.8 percent said the plant should not operate, regardless of its safety.

The survey also showed that 52.1 percent of respondents consider nuclear energy an acceptable source of energy as long as safe operation is guaranteed, while 34.9 percent said they were resolutely opposed to nuclear energy.

The commission conducted the survey at the request of lawmakers to gauge public opinion on the government’s plan to put the fate of the power plant to a national referendum.

As high as 90.8 percent of respondents said they knew about the government’s proposal to put the issue to a vote, with 68.2 percent in favor of a referendum to resolve the dispute and 19 percent opposing the vote, the survey showed.

The poll showed that 52.6 percent of respondents disagreed with the view that scrapping the plant could lead to a spike in electricity rates, while 30.7 percent said it was possible.

A total of 58.4 percent of respondents agreed that if the power plant is abolished, it could force Taiwan into electricity rationing and adversely affect economic growth, while 28.8 percent disagreed.

Asked whether they supported halting construction of the plant, making Taiwan more reliant on coal and natural gas, which would significantly increase the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions and could invite trade retaliation, 42.4 percent of respondents said yes, while 31.2 percent said that construction should continue in that case.

The survey showed that 26.4 percent of respondents were in favor of the government working toward an early realization of a nuclear-free homeland by ordering a halt to the plant and by moving up the scheduled dates for decommissioning the three operating nuclear power plants, while 56.9 percent believed Taiwan should take a gradual path toward that goal.

About 53.5 percent of respondents agreed that nuclear power should remain a limited source of energy for Taiwan, amid concern over the nation’s heavy reliance on imported energy, while 35.1 percent disagreed.

The poll found that 68.4 of respondents supported Premier Jiang-Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) pledge that the government would withhold permits for the power plant’s operation and prohibit Taiwan Power Co from installing fuel rods should the plant fail to meet any requirements.

Meanwhile, 77.5 percent of respondents were in favor of allowing absentee voting in the referendum, while 15.1 percent were opposed.

The survey was conducted by telephone on Friday and Saturday, with a random sampling of 1,079 people aged 20 years old and above. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.98 percent.

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