A referendum proposal to scrap plans for a “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” is to be held alongside the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections, after its signature drive passed the required legal threshold, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said yesterday.
The proposal asks members of the public whether they agree to scrap Article 95-1 of the Electricity Act (電業法), which stipulates that all of the nation’s nuclear power generating facilities should be decommissioned by 2025.
It is led by Nuclear Myth Busters founder Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) and supported by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other nuclear power advocates.
The commission said the proposal garnered 292,654 valid petitions — surpassing the legal threshold of 281,745 — making it the 10th referendum proposal to be held alongside the elections.
The announcement came as a reversal because the commission on Oct. 12 had said the proposal had fallen short of the legal threshold by 2,326 petitions.
Huang’s attempt earlier last month to submit 24,000 additional petitions had been rejected by the commission, but the Taipei High Administrative Court on Wednesday last week ordered the commission to accept and include them.
If the proposed referendum is passed, Article 95-1 would be scrapped three days after the commission announces the voting results, Huang said, referring to Article 30 of the Referendum Act (公民投票法).
Asked if they would seek to resume construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant or extend the decommissioning schedules of the three other power plants, Huang said he welcomes both suggestions and that “supporting nuclear power is now the mainstream opinion.”
The group might initiate another referendum proposal to restart work on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant if the government refuses to change its nuclear power policy, Huang added.
People opposing the referendum will apply for a televised debate with Huang in accordance with the commission’s procedures, National Anti-nuclear Action Platform spokesperson Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said when asked for comment.
As the proposal contains a lot of false information, they would continue to campaign to disseminate correct ideas about energy transformation, Tsuei said, urging people to vote no in the referendum.
Article 23 of the Basic Environment Act (環境基本法), promulgated in 2002, has specified the nation should evolve toward a nuclear-free homeland, though without specifying a deadline, National Taiwan University’s Risk Society and Policy Research Center postdoctoral researcher Chao Chia-wei (趙家緯) said.
Nuclear power supporters seldom reveal the potential costs of disposing of nuclear waste, Chao added.
Chao is to have a public debate with Lee Min (李敏), one of the proposal’s advocates and chairman of Chunghwa Nuclear Society, at Beitou Community University on Thursday next week.
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