Wed, Apr 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

NUCLEAR POWER DEBATE: Proposal for referendum on fuel rods gets support

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance convener Kao Cheng-yan, second left, Taiwan Association of University Professors deputy secretary-general Chien Wen-nan, right, and other activists shout slogans at the gate of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Several academics and members of the Antinuclear Action Alliance said yesterday that their proposal of initiating a national referendum to decide whether fuel rods should be inserted into the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor has already reached the threshold of 100,000 signatures that are needed for a first-phase submission.

Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), former Taiwan Environmental Protection Union chairperson, said the government and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) decision on “ceasing construction” of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) is only playing with words, stalling for time and deceiving the public.

He said that because the Cabinet and KMT lawmakers are unwilling to amend the Referendum Act (公民投票法), which contains what he called “unreasonably high” thresholds, the alliance has instead initiated a national referendum proposal, with the question: “Do you agree on allowing Taiwan Power Co to insert fuel rods into the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City for a test run?”

“This is a question that is destined to stop nuclear power,” he said, adding that if a national plebiscite is held on this question, any eligible voter who does not vote would be considered against it.

“We have already received enough signatures for the first-phase threshold and we will submit it [to the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee] soon,” he said. “We cannot think of any reason for them to reject our proposal.”

Kao said that the union had previously submitted a petition to initiate a local referendum posing the same question, but it was rejected by the committee, claiming that the nuclear power plant is a nationwide public issue and should be decided on a national level.

Taiwan Association of University Professors deputy secretary-general Chien Wen-nan (錢文南) choked on tears as he said that former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) action of bowing to the tomb of his mother and twin daughters at a cemetery in Yilan on Monday is seen by Taiwanese as a sign of saying that he is about to leave this world.

“This is a critical point concerning a person’s life [Lin is now on the eighth day of his hunger strike], but the government still does not show any empathy,” he said. “He does not represent himself, he is representing the will of many Taiwanese... and he already has family members who have been murdered, please don’t let him sacrifice his life for Taiwanese.”

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