Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

NUCLEAR POWER DEBATE: Academics take to the streets against nuclear generation

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Academics hold up signs and stage a silent sit-in outside the Gikong Presbyterian Church in Taipei yesterday where Former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung is staging a hunger strike against nuclear power.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

About 100 academics yesterday staged a silent march from Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building to Gikong Presbyterian Church, where former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) has been on a hunger strike since Tuesday, to urge the government to give up nuclear energy.

“Nuclear power is the most negative product of capitalism and imperialism, it’s a disaster for the disadvantaged,” said Cheng Fei-wen (鄭斐文), an associate professor of sociology at Tung Hai University.

“When nuclear disaster occurs, it is the poor, the aged and children who will suffer the most. Even today, the Tao people on Orchid Island still suffer from nuclear waste storage,” he added.

National Chung Cheng University professor Chen Ruey-lin (陳瑞麟) said Taiwan was located in the so-called “Ring of Fire,” where frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

“I don’t think Taiwan is qualified to use nuclear energy,” he added.

Nuclear disasters have occurred in many countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the former Soviet Union, the US and Japan, Chen said.

“It’s difficult for the government to convince us that we can do better than those countries,” the professor added.

“Nuclear disasters take different forms each time they happen. We cannot foresee them coming and there’s no way we can implement a preventive measure that would be 100 percent safe,” Chen said. “This is why I think we shouldn’t take the risk at all.”

Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lu Chung-chin (呂忠津), who teaches electrical engineering at National Tsing Hua University, said the government should not continue to threaten the public by saying that there may be a power shortage without the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

“It would be better if the government could use this critical time to develop a green energy system for our future,” he said.

The group marched in silence to the church after tying yellow ribbons with the slogan: “Stop the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant; return the power to the people” on police barricades that barred them from getting close to the Presidential Office Building.

Separately yesterday, another group of antinuclear activists urged the government to respond positively to Lin’s demands, otherwise, Taiwan Society North chairman Chang Yeh-shen (張葉森) said, “the moment that Lin collapses will be the moment the revolution starts.”

Meanwhile, in an effort to force legislators to take a stance, Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan convener Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴) yesterday afternoon called on supporters to blockade every exit of the Legislative Yuan in a bid to prevent legislators and governmental vehicles from leaving the premises.

The action caused clashes between security and the protesters.

In the midst of the scuffles, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) was filmed ordering his chauffeur to drive off the premises, while two protesters were clinging to the hood of his car.

Video footage was uploaded by an individual who was severely critical of Tsai, labeling his order to drive away to be as heinous as an act of hit and run.

Tsai responded on Facebook by branding the gathered groups “rioters” who used clubs to crack car windshields.

The “rioters” climbed on to the hood of his car and initiated violence by hammering the vehicle, he added.

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