Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Anti-nuclear cycling team returns from petition trip

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh, third left, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union member Kao Cheng-yan, far right, and other campaigners shout slogans outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday after welcoming a cycling team on their return after completing a round-the-nation trip to collect signatures for a nuclear power referendum petition.

Photo: CNA

After completing a 13-day trip around the nation, a cycling team formed by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) to collect signatures in support of asking a second question in a referendum to decide the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) returned to Taipei yesterday.

The cyclists were welcomed by more than a dozen representatives from several anti-nuclear civic groups and political parties in front of the Legislative Yuan at noon.

Team leader Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), a National Taiwan University professor and TEPU member, said they chose to start their journey on June 5 — World Environment Day — to reflect the public’s strong opposition to nuclear power in light of the negative effects it has on the environment and people of Taiwan.

“We were taken care of by many enthusiastic and warm people throughout our trip across the nation. Presbyterian churches in Greater Taichung, Yunlin, Chiayi and Keelung even provided us free accommodation,” Kao said, adding that local branches of the Democratic Progressive Party, county commissioners and mayors had also shown support for the petition.

The question the team was trying to gather support for was: “Do you agree that fuel rods should be installed in the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and that it be allowed to go into test operation?”

Kao said the team collected thousands of signatures, but the national campaign for gathering the 100,000 signatures needed to submit its petition continues.

“Only if the two questions are asked will the referendum be offering the public a real choice,” he said.

TEPU said it is confident it will meet the signature requirement because the “wildfire of anti-nuclear voices has been lit.”

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