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Groups to hold anti-nuclear rallies in March

2013/02/15 21:15:55

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Anti-nuclear civic groups will hold rallies around Taiwan ahead of the second anniversary of Japan's March 11 earthquake to call attention to the dangers of nuclear power.

The parades will be held March 9 in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Taitung and will be aimed at showing public opposition to nuclear power, according to Wang Shun-wei, an official from the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, one of the organizers.

They will also advocate against providing additional budget for the country's under-construction fourth nuclear power plant, call on the removal of radioactive waste from Taiwan's outlying Orchid Island and demand the immediate closure of the country's other ageing nuclear plants, Wang said.

Activists in the Taipei rally will participate in an anti-nuclear flag-raising ceremony after staying overnight on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, Wang said, adding that the anti-nuclear flag will play an important part in the rallies.

The flag, which bears the words "No Nukes--No More Fukushima," was designed by a coffee shop owner, who cooperated with the alliance last year to launch a campaign calling for people nationwide to hoist anti-nuclear flags instead of the national flag on Taiwan's National Day.

Nuclear-Free Homeland Alliance Executive Director Lee Cho-han said an increasing number of people are against nuclear power in Taiwan since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 and added that his alliance will continue to garner support for the rallies through the Internet, as well as through community and campus speeches.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus has said that it will place a nuclear-free homeland draft bill as one of its priority bills in the next legislative session.

The draft bill stipulates that from the date the bill takes effect, no licenses can be issued to build or operate nuclear plants for the purpose of power generation, no such licenses can be extended for existing plants, and the No. 4 nuclear power plant cannot begin operating.

DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun said she hopes the budget for the plant can be successfully blocked in the upcoming legislative session.

Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Policy Committee Chief Lin Hung-chih, however, said that while the KMT agrees with the nuclear-free homeland concept, the public might not accept the electricity rate hikes or power limitation measures that such a move would entail.

He said the ruling and opposition parties should enhance their communication over energy issues and face energy problems pragmatically.

While the operating lives of the three existing plants should not be extended, the No. 4 plant should be allowed to operate, as long as the proper safety measures are followed, Lin said.

(By Tseng Ying-yu and Christie Chen)