Fri, Aug 02, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Activists slam lack of accountability

NUCLEAR INDEMNITY:Greenpeace said contractors had no right to ask Taiwanese to trust the safety of nuclear reactors if they are not prepared to accept any liability

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Masked Greenpeace demonstrators pose for a photo in front of the building of Taiwan Power Co in Taipei to protest against the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant yesterday.

Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP

Greenpeace Taiwan yesterday said that in the event of a nuclear accident at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), none of the subcontractors working on the power plant would have to shoulder any responsibility.

At a press conference co-hosted by the Green Citizen’s Action Alliance, the organization said that in the event of a problem at the plant, General Electrics and Mitsubishi are indemnified against all responsibility.

Senior Greenpeace member Ku Wei-mu (古偉牧) said the contractors had no right to ask Taiwanese to trust the safety of nuclear reactors if they themselves were not prepared to accept liability.

As a state-owned enterprise, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) would have to pay people compensation with their own tax money, Ku said, adding that it would in essence mean victims would subsidize themselves.

The organization pointed to the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan as an example, saying that the cost of reparations has reached ¥2.6 trillion (US$26.4 billion), but due to Tokyo Electric Power Co’s inability to pay, the Japanese government had nationalized the company and in so doing shifted the costs of nuclear disaster reparation onto taxpayers.

The report pointed out that in the event of a nuclear accident at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, a 50km fallout radius would encompass Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Yilan County, adding that the potential economic loss per annum has been calculated at more than NT$33.9 trillion (US$1.1 trillion).

The report claimed that this figure does not include public healthcare costs, water system pollution, cultural and educational losses, or a fall in real-estate prices.

Meanwhile, alliance secretary-general Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said that even if the threat of nuclear disaster were to be exempted from consideration, the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was still problematic.

Despite Taipower conducting a nuclear safety inspection of the power plant, it could not resolve many of the structural problems that the plant had accumulated over the two decades since its inception, Tsuei said, adding that the government should halt its construction once and for all to prevent further and greater losses.

Supporters of the alliance and the organization carried banners and wore white Hazmat suits yesterday to declare their anti-nuclear ideals.

Standing at 12 major intersections in Taipei, including Dunhua S Road, Zhongxiao E Road, Nanjing E Road and Xinyi Road, activists unfurled large banners warning the public of the dangers of a nuclear disaster.

In response, Taipower said that it respected a diverse democratic society and the freedom of speech that comes with it.

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