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New Taipei mayor pitches for nuclear power referendum

2013/03/06 18:09:52

Taipei, March 6 (CNA) New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu said Wednesday that the government should make an all-out effort to push a proposed referendum on the fate of the controversial fourth nuclear power plant in the city's Gongliao District.

The government should not use any "game-fixing" tactics to make the referendum produce a result it wants, Chu said.

The mayor said he had reached a consensus with President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Jiang Yi-huah that the under-construction plant will not begin operating until its safety has been ensured.

He also expressed hope that plans for moves such as holding absentee voting in the planned referendum on the nuclear power plant to increase voter turnout will proceed smoothly.

He urged the various political parties not to intervene in the referendum and called for a rational discussion about the future of the nuclear power plant.

Meanwhile, opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-hui advocated a draft bill that would see a clause added to the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act stipulating that before a nuclear reactor is built and fuel rods installed, a mandatory local referendum should be held on setting up an emergency evacuation zone within a 50-km radius of the site. The bill is going through its second reading in the Legislature.

In related developments, the Southern Taiwan Nuclear Abolition Action Alliance, a civic group, is set to launch an anti-nuclear march March 9 in the south of the country, with more than 70 groups expected to take part, the alliance said.

In addition, a group of university students from southern Taiwan that launched a walking campaign two days earlier in Pingtung County to oppose the nuclear plant project is scheduled to meet the Southern Taiwan Nuclear Abolition Action Alliance in Kaohsiung on the day of the protest.

(By Sunrise Huang, Chen Ja-fo, Justin Su and Y.L. Kao)