Tue, May 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Proposed change to boost penalties for false nuclear news

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Atomic Energy Council Minister Hsieh Shou-shing answers questions at the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

People who spread misinformation about nuclear power emergencies that causes injury or death would face a maximum fine of NT$1 million (US$32,173) or life imprisonment, according to a draft addendum passed by the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday.

The change to the Nuclear Emergency Response Act (核子事故緊急應變法) is among proposed amendments to seven acts by the Executive Yuan to curb the dissemination of false information related to disaster prevention, agricultural trade, food safety, epidemics, television reports and nuclear power emergencies.

Those who spread false information about nuclear power emergencies causing harm to members of the public would face a fine of up to NT$1 million or a prison term of up to three years, the draft says.

If the misinformation causes death, the person found to have disseminated it would face a prison term of seven years to life, it said, adding that if the misinformation results in serious injury, the term would be from three to 10 years.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) said that the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) should propose rules about misinformation regarding “incidents” related to nuclear power, rather than “emergencies.”

It is fortunate that no nuclear power disaster has occurred in Taiwan, while it is curious why the council has introduced the draft when it regularly clarifies rumors on its Web site, Ko said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) asked whether the government is prepared for a nuclear power disaster on China’s east coast, where there are 16 nuclear power plants, including the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant in China’s Fujian Province, only 75km from Matsu’s Dongju (東莒) and Xiju (西莒) islands, and 162km from Miaoli County.

AEC Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said that the agency has signed a cooperation agreement with its Chinese counterpart to ensure there is a cross-strait channel to report nuclear disasters, while it would also work with the US to assess a disaster.

In the event that a nuclear power plant disaster occurs in China, the council would implement border control measures and advise people to stay indoors to minimize the effects of potential radioactive fallout, he said.

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