The majority of respondents in two public opinion surveys released yesterday support suspending or terminating the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) and do not believe that the government is capable of handling a nuclear disaster.
In a poll conducted by Commonwealth magazine, 58.7 percent of respondents said they back scrapping the power plant entirely, while 27.2 percent were in favor of suspending the project and 14.1 percent did not provide an answer.
The majority of those polled feel pessimistic about the government’s capacity to deal with nuclear energy, with 67.9 percent saying they have no confidence in the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s ability to handle radioactive waste and 65.3 percent saying they do not think that the Gongliao facility would be safe once completed.
Asked if they would accept a possible increase in the electricity price caused by reducing the amount of power generated atomically — which according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs could be as much as a 40 percent hike — most people gave negative answers.
The poll was conducted from Wednesday to Friday last week, collecting 1,069 valid samples with a 3 percentage point margin of error.
Another survey on the subject conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) produced similar results, with 54.1 percent of participants supporting the suspension or termination of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, while 27.5 percent favored completing it.
Among those who opposed finishing the plant, 26.3 percent were for axing it entirely, down from the 33.2 percent in last month’s results, while 13.8 percent called for suspending construction before holding a national referendum to decide the plant’s fate and 14 percent favored a three-step measure of freezing construction, conducting a safety inspection and then holding a plebiscite.
Meanwhile, the support rate for the government’s proposal to complete the plant, but not put it online immediately increased to 7.6 percent from 2.4 percent last month, with 19.9 percent of respondents backing finishing the plant and launching operations.
The TISR survey found that 75.7 percent of those polled do not trust that the government would be able to handle a disaster like the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011.
Asked if Ma should order a halt to the Gongliao plant’s construction, 51.1 percent of respondents said yes and 29.3 percent said no, with 19.4 percent declining to answer.
The TISR poll found that support for a nuclear-free Taiwan has risen by 5 percent from last month to 55 percent, while another 29.6 percent back atomic power.
The results appeared to suggest that people’s positions on the Gongliao plant and the use of nuclear energy was related to their political party affiliation.
Among those who identified themselves as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters in TISR’s survey, 48.6 percent backed the plant’s completion and operation and 43.5 percent of those calling themselves Democratic Progressive Party backers urged its termination.
Additionally, 60.9 percent of self-proclaimed pan-blue supporters are in favor of atomic energy, while 80.9 percent of pan-green camp backers oppose it and 58 percent of independent voters are also against nuclear-generated power.
TISR also conducted its poll from Wednesday to Friday last week, during which it collected 1,004 valid samples with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
CONTROVERSY: NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang said an outcry over overseas Taiwanese not paying premiums, but having coverage, is pushing rule amendments Rules changes are being considered that would force Taiwanese who permanently live abroad to pay National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums for the period they were overseas before they can re-enroll in the system, National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) yesterday said. The case of a married Taiwanese couple who lived in the US for about 30 years, but returned to Taiwan in April and tested positive for COVID-19 has again sparked public debate over why Taiwanese living abroad are allowed to use NHI resources, — although the couple’s expenses were not covered by the NHI. An often cited example
AN EXAMPLE: After attending a memorial service for Lee Teng-hui, Mori said the former president’s career reflected the importance of peace and democracy Using military force to resolve conflict is no longer workable in this new era, which requires peaceful discussion, former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori said yesterday before leaving Taipei. Mori made the remarks at a news conference in front of the EVA Sky Jet Center at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), after leading a delegation to attend the official memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水). This was Mori’s second trip to mourn Lee; his last was on Aug. 9. Although he walked with a crutch, Mori, 83, chose to stand right in front of