DPP to repeat proposal to halt plant’s construction

HIGH HOPES::The party says it knows there are KMT legislators not supporting the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and is hoping for their support to pass a crucial motion

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said it would repeat its proposal of a week ago to suspend construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in the Legislative Yuan tomorrow and called on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to support the cause.

The DPP’s Central Standing Committee (CSC) reached a resolution yesterday that the party caucus would again launch a motion to have the proposal discussed in the plenary session after the same motion failed to pass on Friday, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.

“We know that there are KMT lawmakers not supporting the construction. Hopefully they will listen to their hearts and mainstream public opinion, and support the motion,” Lin said.

Several KMT lawmakers, including Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), broke party ranks and voted in favor of the motion last week.

With its 40 seats and three each from the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the People First Party (PFP), which also backed the motion, the DPP figured it may have a chance to have the motion pass if a number of KMT votes were added.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that 11 KMT lawmakers either voted in favor of the motion or abstained from voting last week, adding that only 33 lawmakers of the 65-member strong KMT caucus endorsed the KMT’s referendum proposal, which reflected internal divisions in the party.

In a speech before the standing committee meeting, Su lambasted the government’s current strategy to promote the nuclear power plant’s safety and the quality of its construction by arranging extensive media tours to the construction site in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

“There is no way for those who are not nuclear technology experts to assess the plant’s safety and construction quality by a simple visit to the site,” Su said.

The DPP caucus also accused President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government of making efforts to sway public opinion by releasing the results of poor opinion surveys and reportedly laying on a banquet for the safety review panel.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported yesterday that high-ranking officials of the nuclear power plant received panel members with a sumptuous dinner, which could be interpreted as lobbying.

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) lacked confidence in the safety and construction of the plant and had to resort to lobbying, DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said.

A survey released by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission on Monday, according to which 54.4 percent of respondents said they supported the plant if safety is not a concern and 52.1 percent of respondents considered nuclear energy an acceptable source of energy as long as safe operation is guaranteed, was “ridiculously stupid,” DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) added.

“Those questions are stupid. After all, who is going to support the plant if they have safety concerns and who is going to support operation of the plant if it failed a safety review?” Yeh said.