Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taipei poll shows dip in opposition to nuke plant

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

A second survey released yesterday by the Taipei City Government on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant showed that 66 percent of the city’s residents said they would come out and vote if a national referendum on the fate of the plant was held, a slight drop from the 71 percent who said they would do so in the first survey released last month.

The survey, conducted by Taipei City’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission on April 22 and April 23 with 1,302 respondents, also showed that 62 percent said they would vote in support of suspending construction of the plant, which also dropped from 66 percent in the previous survey.

The survey this month also included a new question, on whether the national referendum should be canceled if the majority of the public supported the suspension of the plant’s construction.

The result showed that 55 percent agreed with the proposal, while 32 percent said the referendum should still be held.

The city government has promised to conduct and release such poll every month as part of its efforts to strengthen the rhetoric of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) open opposition to the construction of the plant.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Timothy Ting (丁庭宇), in announcing the results of the second survey, said the city poll reflected a shift in public attention as other issues emerged as hot topics in the media, such as the H7N9 avian influenza.

The nuclear issue is likely to become the center of attention again about one month before the national referendum is held, he said.

“The survey showed that more than half of Taiwanese continued to support the suspension of the plant’s construction. There are actually other options for the issue, such as proceeding with the construction without allowing its commercial operation, and we may add such a question in the poll to see what people think,” he said.

Ting stressed that his comments on continuing construction of the power plant but not allowing its commercial operation was his personal opinion, and did not affect Hau’s opposition to the construction.

The power plant has cost NT$28 billion (US$947.4 million) so far, and the money would be wasted if construction is halted, he said.

It is also an option to complete the construction first, and decide whether to allow its commercial operation when the first and second nuclear power plants are decommissioned, he said.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) said the mayor, who did not attend the press conference, had no comment on Ting’s remarks.

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