RDEC to conduct nuclear power poll

A SIMPLER SOLUTION?:Commission co-chair and KMT Legislator Liao Cheng-ching said that the survey could render a nuclear power plant referendum unnecessary

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - Page 3

At the request of lawmakers, the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) will conduct a survey to assess the public’s views on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) within one month and release its results in the next two weeks.

The motion that demanded an official survey was sponsored mostly by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers and was approved at a meeting of the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday.

The request came amid mounting calls for the government to rescind its decision to put the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to a referendum and order an immediate halt to its construction following major anti-nuclear demonstrations on Sunday that attracted as many as 200,000 people nationwide.

According to the approved proposal, the commission, which is in charge of large-scale national public opinion polls on government policy, has to complete the survey within one month and send the questionnaire and its results to the legislature within the next two weeks.

RDEC Minister Sung Yu-hsieh (宋餘俠) that requested three or four months to perform the task, but that timetable was not accepted by lawmakers.

“Don’t procrastinate any longer. [A decision on the issue] has to be fast and clear, otherwise the issue will continue to consume the nation and the public,” said KMT Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井), who is co-chair of the commission.

If the survey finds that more than 50 percent of survey respondents would vote in favor of halting construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, then there would be no need to have a referendum, Liao said.

In response to lawmakers, Sung said that the commission has not yet carried out a poll specifically related to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, but said that some related questions had been included in previous surveys.

He refused to reveal details of the previous polls.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) said that recent polls released by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research and Taiwan Thinktank, Sunday’s rally and public opinion as presented by the media have all shown “overwhelming popular support for the construction [of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant] to be halted.”

“If the RDEC is to conduct a survey, make sure that you refrain from asking leading questions that would mean survey results that do not reflect public opinion,” Wu said.

More KMT lawmakers have joined calls for the government to halt construction of the plant.

KMT Legislator Wang Huei-mei (王惠美) said that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has suggested the possibility of the government halting construction.

The commission should present a survey on the issue to the Cabinet so that it may consider whether to halt construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, Wang said.