President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has betrayed its pledge to make the safety of the controversial construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao Dictrict (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市) a priority by sending the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) referendum proposal to the legislature’s plenary session, the pan-green camp said yesterday.
The Legislative Yuan’s Procedure Committee, in which the KMT enjoys a majority, on Monday listed the referendum proposal initiated by KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) on the agenda for the plenary session on Friday.
The move was interpreted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) as a violation of a pledge that Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) made last month, which promised “no nuclear safety, no nuclear energy” to the public.
Photo: Chu Pei- siung, Taipei Times
The government had said a national referendum on the controversial nuclear power plant would only be necessary after nuclear safety, an issue of the quality of the plant’s construction and disposal of nuclear waste, was assured, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.
“However, it appeared that Ma hinted in his interview with the media on Friday that nuclear safety would be a separate issue from the referendum, which means that a national referendum will be held regardless of whether nuclear safety is assured,” Yeh told a press conference.
Asking people to vote on the nuclear power plant without sufficient information and professional assessment would be unfair, she added.
The safety concerns over the nuclear power plant will not be addressed within the next six months because the government did not begin its safety review until recently, Yeh said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said the referendum proposal should be initiated by the Executive Yuan, rather than a KMT lawmaker, because the legislature is not obligated to endorse the controversial referendum.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said the plenary session could either send the proposal to a specific committee, proceed directly to a second reading or send it back to the Procedure Committee.
The TSU caucus, meanwhile, said that the KMT’s insistence on holding the referendum was a political calculation based on the high threshold required for a referendum to pass and on manipulating the referendum question.
The referendum should not be held before three nuclear-related bills currently in the legislature are dealt with, including a bill on referendums in evacuation zones, a bill on promoting a nuclear-free homeland and an amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), it said.
Separately yesterday, DPP legislators Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) and Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲), together with several academics, once again stressed that the nation’s geography is not suitable for nuclear power plants.
Ahead of an ad hoc meeting to be held by the legislature’s Economics Committee today about Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower) geological survey on the three operating nuclear power plants, the legislators and academics said reports show that all of the nuclear power plants are near faults, volcanoes and underwater volcanoes — all seismically unstable areas.
National Taiwan Ocean University professor of applied geosciences Lee Chao-shing (李昭興) said the Shanjiao Fault (山腳斷層) that stretches from the Jinshan Fault (金山斷層) has been found to be at least 40km, and it may be found to be even be longer if further geological surveys are conducted in other areas.
He said the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen District (石門), New Taipei City, is only 7km from the Shanjiao Fault, the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in the same city’s Wanli District (萬里) is only 2km from the Kanjiao Fault (崁腳斷層) and the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County’s Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) is on the Hengchun Fault (恆春斷層).
The yet-to-be completed new plant may be on the Fangjiao Fault (枋腳斷層), Lee added.
“Taiwan is the only country that builds nuclear power plants on faults, and near volcanoes and its capital,” Tien said, adding that while the government repeatedly promised that nuclear power generation will only begin when nuclear safety is ensured in advance, the geological survey shows that the plants are not safe.
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
Recent movements by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been “highly unusual,” but the military maintains a grasp of the situation, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said on Friday, after the military for the first time said it was monitoring troop movements in China’s Dacheng Bay (大埕灣). The minister gave the remarks to reporters before appearing at the legislature on the first day of its new session. The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday evening released an air force surveillance photograph of a PLA Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and said it was monitoring the PLA Rocket Force and ground
‘ABNORMITY’: News of the military exercises on the coast of the Chinese province facing Taiwan were made public by the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday Taiwan’s military yesterday said it has detected the Chinese military initiating a round of exercises at a bay area in coastal Fujian Province, which faces Taiwan, since early yesterday morning and it has been closely monitoring the drills. The exercises being conducted at Fujian’s Dacheng Bay featured an undisclosed number of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) warplanes, warships and ground troops, the Ministry of National Defense said in a press statement. The ministry did not disclose what kind of military exercises are being conducted there and for how long they would be happening, but it did say that it has been closely watching
China’s Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong has asked foreign consulates in Hong Kong to submit details of their local staff, which is more proof that the “one country, two systems” model no longer exists, a Taiwanese academic said. The office sent letters dated Monday last week to consulates in the territory, giving them one month to submit the information it requires. The move followed Beijing’s attempt to obtain floor plans for all properties used by foreign missions in Hong Kong last year, which raised concerns among diplomats that the information could be used for