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Religious groups declare united stance against nuclear power

2012/03/08 19:35:34

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Local religious groups declared a united stance Thursday against nuclear power ahead of the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, calling for a nuclear-free Taiwan.

Representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Daoism urged the government to abolish its nuclear policy, saying that the nuclear disaster in Japan should remind people of the calamities that can arise when humans try to overpower nature.

"We cannot accept even the lowest nuclear risks because human lives cannot be put at risk," Shih Chao-hwei, a Buddhist priest and founder of the Buddhist Hongshi College, told a press conference.

"The government should immediately shut down the three existing nuclear plants, suspend the construction of the fourth plant, and develop clean energy to guarantee the sustainable use of energy in Taiwan," said Ng Tiat-gan, a pastor and official from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.

"We shouldn't be selfish and insist on using nuclear power without thinking about the consequences it could have for our offspring," added Ng, who lived for a year in Fukushima, where the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan is located.

Ismail Wang, executive secretary of the Taipei Grand Mosque, said that the Islam he follows supports the positive use of nuclear technology, such as in the areas of medicine, but is against its use in areas such as nuclear power or weapons.

Also calling for a nuclear-free homeland are Imam Ishaq Ma Chao-xing, an official from the Chinese Muslim Association in Taiwan, Pusin Tali, a pastor and president of the Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary, and Li Yu-kun, a priest from the Zheng Yi Taoist sect.

The religious officials said with Taiwan's limited land and dense population it would not be able to endure a nuclear disaster.

In the wake of the March 11 disasters in Japan, civic and environmental groups around the country have been stepping up their call on the government to stop operating its nuclear plants.

The religious officials urged people of all beliefs to participate in anti-nuclear rallies March 11 around Taiwan to say "no" to nuclear power.

Taiwan Power Co., operator of the nuclear plants in Taiwan, said recently that it is improving its equipment at the fourth plant and has arranged for foreign experts to help it identify problems during its trial operation period.

The state-run company has also said that if the fourth plant can provide a steady supply of power by 2015, the first plant could be closed down two years ahead of schedule.

The government also has said that it will not extend the operating lives of the three existing nuclear plants.

(By Christie Chen)