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Activists protest against 4th nuclear power plant project

2011/03/20 22:01:30

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Environmental activists and oppositionpolitical figures staged a protest in Taipei Sunday against thegovernment's plan to continue the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project,as Japan battled to bring its quake-damaged nuclear plants undercontrol.

Dozens of environmental groups also called on the government tosuspend plans to extend the life of Taiwan's first, second, and thirdnuclear plants, and urged that safety checks be conducted at all theplants.

The protesters urged the government to reinforce the nuclearplants' resistance to earthquakes. The power plants are designed towithstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Furthermore, the government should immediately halt constructionof the fourth nuclear plant, as it is located in a quake andtsunami-prone area, the protesters said.

Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who declared his intention Sundayto seek the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's presidentialnomination, was among the demonstrators. He called for an end to theextended life of the three plants in operation.

Another former premier, Frank Hsieh, also of the DPP, said at theprotest that when an advanced country like Japan could face such aserious nuclear crisis, it was only a matter of time before Taiwanwould have to cope with a similar kind of danger.

A spokesperson for DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that Tsai wasnot at the protest because she had other commitments in southernTaiwan but shared the views of her party colleagues.

Tsai was of the view that the allocations for the development ofalternative energy should be increased, and she would be presentingher energy policy soon, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Annette Lu said Taiwan residentsshould push for an immediate halt to the construction on the fourthnuclear power plant, and she joined the call for an overall safetycheck on all nuclear power plants in Taiwan.

DPP legislator Pan Meng-An told reporters that if the governmentrefused to suspend work on the fourth nuclear power plant for safetychecks, the DPP would refuse to review the budget of the state-runTaiwan Power Co. (Taipower), builder and owner of the plant, when itcame up in the legislature on March 24.

Taiwan currently operates three nuclear power plants, with No.1and 2 located in northern Taiwan's New Taipei City, the largest cityin Taiwan in terms of population, and No.3 in Pingtung County,southern Taiwan.

A fourth nuclear power plant is under construction in Kungliao onthe northeast coast, also in New Taipei City. It is scheduled tobegin commercial operations at the end of next the year.

(By Sophia Yeh, Justin Su, Lin Szu-yu, Angela Tsai, Kuan Jui-pin and
Ann Chen)
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