Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday urged the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee to approve a referendum endorsed by New Taipei City (新北市) residents on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, adding that she might seek a constitutional interpretation if the proposal is turned down.
“Once the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is completed, there will be three nuclear power plants in New Taipei City; hence, people of the city should not be denied the right to decide on their own safety,” Lu told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan. “While I also support the nationwide referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, I think that the nationwide referendum does not have priority over the local referendum.”
Lu said that if the committee turns down the residents-endorsed referendum, “I will not rule out seeking a constitutional interpretation.”
Initiated by Lu, the referendum endorsed by more than 51,000 New Taipei City residents asks the question: “Do you agree that fuel rods should be placed in the reactors at Taiwan Power Co’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City?”
It has passed a review by the city’s referendum review committee, but still needs the approval of the Executive Yuan’s Referendum Review Committee before making it to polling stations.
However, Lu and anti-nuclear activists are worried that the local referendum may be turned down because of a similar nationwide referendum that asks the question: “Do you agree that construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted?”
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) took part in the press conference to show her support.
“The government cannot take away people’s civil rights. People who are most affected by a policy should have the final say about it,” Lin said. “No one should make the decision for people who live within the nuclear disaster evacuation radius and whose lives and properties are the most threatened.”
Lu also met with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to discuss the issue.
Wang said that lawmakers across party lines have reached a consensus that the fuel rods would not be placed in the reactors before the nuclear referendum, “therefore, the fuel rods issue would not be a problem at all.”