Tsai Ing-wen calls for support for nuclear referendum

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 3

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called for public support for an anti-nuclear referendum proposal in New Taipei City (新北市), saying that only by applying pressure would the government feel the urgency to revise its energy policy.

“As a New Taipei City resident, I call on everyone’s support to make it a successful referendum, which would create a sense of urgency for the government to revamp its energy policy to handle Taiwan’s mid and long-term energy needs,” Tsai said.

The former DPP presidential candidate offered her endorsement of the proposal initiated by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and various environmental groups, which aims to stop the operation of the yet-to-be-completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Longmen (龍門), at a joint press conference, held at the office of her Thinking Taiwan Foundation, with the DPP’s offices in Taipei City and New Taipei City.

Tsai’s foundation is to work with the DPP local offices to collect signatures at various locations in the greater Taipei area with an initial goal of at least 16,000 signatures, the minimum required for submitting a proposal, and a second-phase goal of 160,000 signatures, the threshold for a referendum to be held.

The objective of the referendum, which demands halting the loading of fuel rods at the power plant, is in line with her presidential platform of a “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” as well as the DPP’s longstanding position and the wishes of many Taiwanese, Tsai said.

Tsai said during the presidential campaign that Taiwan would be able to phase out nuclear power with a comprehensive set of policies, including increasing alternative energy production and promote energy efficiency.

Three of Taiwan’s four active or planned nuclear power plants are located in New Taipei City, making it the city with the highest density of nuclear power plants in the world, Tsai said.

Director of the DPP’s New Taipei City Office, Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), and director of the DPP’s Taipei City Office, Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), both pledged to support the initiative, with Chuang saying that the support of Taipei City would be important as well.

Given the proximity of the two cities, Taipei would be affected if a nuclear accident occurred in New Taipei City, Chuang said, adding that many Taipei City residents have friends or relatives living in New Taipei City.