Sat, Apr 27, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Protesters mark 27 years since Chernobyl disaster

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A group of protesters perform a skit outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to mark the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Photo: CNA

A group of protesters yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine by donning nuclear protection suits and lying on the ground in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to symbolize a situation of being powerless and unable to escape from radioactive fallout.

The skit was in part also a demonstration of their opposition to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) proposal to hold a referendum on whether the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) should be aborted.

In the skit, people in nuclear protection suits fell to the ground one after the other as the demonstrators loudly played the recorded sound of a siren, mimicking a nuclear disaster alarm.

Shortly afterwards, two people in black clothes quietly placed yellow flowers on the people laying on the ground, expressing grief over the fate of victims of the Chernobyl disaster.

They also said they hope that such a scenario would never happen in Taiwan.

The Green Citizens’ Action Alliance stressed that they are not against letting the public decide on the future of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant through a referendum, but object to “the manipulated phrasing and flawed mechanism of the Referendum Act (公投法), with its high threshold that is nearly impossible for any individual proposal to pass.”

Noting that radiation contamination from the Chernobyl disaster 27 years ago remains unresolved until this day, and that an estimated tens of thousands of people living near the crippled plant have developed cancers that may have been caused by the contamination, the alliance’s secretary general, Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣), said Taiwan should learn from the tragedy and stop using nuclear power immediately.

“The Chernobyl disaster caused radiation contamination in a large area around the power plant and may have caused harm to more than 100,000 people,” Nuclear-Free Homeland Alliance executive director Lee Cho-han (李卓翰) said.

He added that although the specific number of victims is difficult to calculate, Taiwan should learn from the disaster and legislators should remember the people’s opposition to nuclear power.

Tsuei said they are concerned about the Cabinet’s inconsistency, such as Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) saying that the safety of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be ensured before the referendum is held, but the Cabinet now saying that safety checks at the plant may not be finished before the referendum.

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