Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Deputy Minister Shieh Der-jhy (謝得志), whose resignation from the council takes effect on Sept. 1, says being an administrative officer generates many feelings and that after his announcement that he is to leave the post, he feels as though a heavy burden has been lifted off his shoulders.
“The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear [power] crisis in Japan shook me very badly,” Shieh said, adding that it was after the incident in March when he had first thought about tendering his resignation.
“[During the crisis], I got up at 3am every day to prepare data and so I could explain to people and reassure them. I only wanted the legislators to give me a chance to explain the situation, but they arbitrarily said I was lying. That feeling isn’t great. You kind of feel like all your preparation was for nothing,” Shieh said in an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Thursday.
Photo: Tang Chia-ling, Taipei Times
During a question-and-answer session in the legislature during the crisis, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) repeatedly asked Shieh why the evacuation radius in Taiwan was only 5km and whether it should be enlarged. Lee also said that the council did not know what it was talking about and was only giving the good news. Shieh repeatedly slapped the podium during the comments and asked that Lee let him finish so he could give a detailed explanation.
“Is an administrative officer supposed to stand in the Legislative Yuan only to be insulted and railed at? If so, where’s the dignity of being a government official?” Shieh said.
From March until this month, Shieh repeatedly tendered his resignation verbally and frankly admitted that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Safety Oversight Committee meeting last week had been the last straw. The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), has been under construction since 1997.
Several legislators had asked to attend the meeting and after consulting committee members, Shieh agreed that the lawmakers could participate. Shieh then went away on business and gave his aides instructions to notify the legislators’ offices. However, the aides failed to notify some of the legislators, causing them to express their discontent to Shieh.
I really sympathize with personnel at Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower), who are willing to take responsibility for the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and who usually take the lion’s share of the blame, Shieh said.
“I don’t like to hide behind others and let them take the heat,” Shieh said, adding that it was obvious that each organization involved in the construction of the plant was passing the burden of responsibility around.
Although no construction process is ever 100 percent safe, the council and Taipower should show complete resolve in executing things as safely as possible, Shieh said, adding that an administrative officer should be prepared to act responsibly and be accountable for their actions.
You should think more about what you are doing and not just think about where your responsibilities end, Shieh said.
It is wrong to push all of the responsibility for people’s fears surrounding the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant all on Taipower, Shieh said, adding that only when all sides are willing to shoulder the burden can the holes be plugged.
Furthermore, if you want the country to run smoothly then there needs to be an oversight system for administrative officers; their performance should not just be based on scores, Shieh said.
Not only do they need to have the ability to “propose a view, persuade colleagues to follow that view, the ability to manage people and good communication skills,” administrative officers need to have “an all-encompassing mind,” Shieh said.
Administrators that want people to feel safe need to empathize with the public; they need to go out and tell people when they should feel safe, when they should worry, or all a nuclear power plant is reduced to is technical matters, he said, adding: “Only by empathizing can you achieve sincere actions, otherwise its phony.”
Shieh said he felt he had done his best during his three years with the council.
“You get the job when you get it and step down when you should, I feel at peace with it,” Shieh said, adding that the main motivation behind his resignation was the difficulty he had reconciling his ideas on how an administrative officer should work, his personal ideals and the ideals of the council.
Shieh will return to the Nuclear Research Center after his resignation.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,