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.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last