Su reiterates opposition to ‘new’ nuclear power plant

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday reiterated its opposition to the ongoing construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), while the government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) pushed for the completion of the project as soon as possible.

The KMT caucus said it hoped that an additional budget for the plant’s construction could be passed at the new legislative session, which begins on Feb. 26, and that construction would be completed before a decision is made on whether the plant should go into operation.

“KMT lawmakers and members have yet to reach a consensus on the continuation of construction. An additional budget should not be allocated if suspension of construction turned out to be the final consensus,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.

Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) called for an immediate suspension of construction on her Facebook page.

“Future generations should not be held responsible for the mistake of our generation. This is what responsibility and justice is all about,” Tsai wrote.

Tsai cited three reasons for her call to stop construction and more budget allocation — nuclear safety risks, mismanagement of the budget for construction in the past decade and the emergence of new technologies that make nuclear power dispensable.

“Nuclear energy is clearly not a good option for Taiwanese,” Tsai said.

The government should respect a resolution passed by the legislature’s Economics Committee in October last year calling on the government to adjust electricity installations from a nuclear base to natural gas, Tsai said.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) should make its building contracts public and related information transparent given the heated debate over whether to suspend the plant’s construction.

While the DPP has always advocated a “nuclear-free homeland,” some party members might find it acceptable for construction of the plant to continue but not operate after its completion given that billions of dollars in contracts are at stake, Huang said.

“However, that option would not be feasible until Taipower discloses all information which it has kept secret for so long,” he said.