A national referendum on activating the long-mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) is set for Aug. 28, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Friday.
The Referendum Act (公民投票法) stipulates that national referendums can only be held once every two years, starting from this year, and only on the fourth Saturday of August.
Polling stations would open from 8am to 4pm, the commission said.
The agency is to announce the referendums on May 27, hold presentations on the referendum questions from May 28 to Aug. 27 and announce the number of voters eligible for the referendums by Aug. 24, it said.
The result of the referendums would be announced on Sept. 3, although unofficial results should be known the night of the vote, it said.
So far, only the nuclear power plant referendum initiative, launched by nuclear power proponent Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修), has met the endorsement threshold required to be put to a vote.
It asks: “Do you agree that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be activated for commercial operations?”
The plant, which was close to completion before being shelved in 2014, has been a focal point in debates over nuclear power.
Supporters have lauded it as a clean and relatively cheap energy solution to the problems of air quality and rising electricity costs.
Critics warn of the safety hazards of using the plant in particular and nuclear power in general, citing the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.
Several initiatives remain in the works, including one to eliminate the restriction that referendums can only be held on the fourth Saturday of August in odd-numbered years.
For a referendum to pass, at least 25 percent of eligible voters must cast their ballot for it, setting a relatively high turnout threshold in a nonelection year, and it must also garner more votes in favor than opposed.
Initiating a referendum in Taiwan requires meeting endorsements in two phases — the first round requires signatures from at least 0.01 percent of eligible voters in the most recent presidential election, while the second round requires signatures from 1.5 percent of eligible voters.
There were 19.31 million eligible voters in last year’s presidential election.
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