The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would focus on passing legislation to counter the government and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) efforts to promote nuclear power.
The “anti-nuclear legislation” includes proposed amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法), and the enactment of a bill promoting a nuclear-free homeland (非核家園推動法), DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union said it would collaborate with the DPP on the legislation.
The KMT has proposed holding a national referendum asking voters if they support the suspension of the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant — a referendum that many feared would fail to pass because of the high threshold.
Riding on a momentum of strong public support for a nuclear-free environment, as evidenced by Saturday’s demonstrations which attracted about 200,000 participants, the DPP caucus aims to lower the referendum threshold and to propose mandatory local referendums for evacuation zones within 50km from a nuclear reactor, fuel rod storage site or a nuclear power plant.
Separately, DPP lawmakers accused state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) of illegally expanding the cooling ponds storage used to store high-level radioactive fuel rods at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shimen District (石門), the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City, and the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Ma-anshan (馬鞍山), Pingtung County
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said Taipower was forced to store the fuel rods at the three plants because Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) no longer accepts low-level nuclear waste.
The expansion was illegal because the Pingtung County Government and the New Taipei City Government had refused to issue licenses due to safety concerns, Pan told reporters.
Unable to store the nuclear waste, the only thing Taipower could do was expand the ponds, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said, adding that seismic activity could trigger a chain reaction in the overcrowded pools.
“How can Taipower guarantee nuclear safety when it could not even deal with nuclear waste and spent fuel rods?” Wu said.
Wu said 15,459 fuel rods are currently stored in the three nuclear plants: 5,514 in the Jinshan plant, 7,544 in the Guosheng plant and 2,401 in the Ma-anshan plant.