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Former DPP head urges support for nuclear-free homeland in poll

2018/11/21 16:08:55

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄, front, left)

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) on Wednesday called on people who favor a nuclear-free homeland to vote against the 16th referendum proposal to ensure that the goal be achieved in 2025.

If passed, the referendum proposal, to be voted on in conjunction with the local elections on Nov. 24, will "derail all the efforts Taiwanese people have made over the years to turn Taiwan into a nuclear-free homeland by 2025," according to a statement that Lin co-signed and was read at a press conference Wednesday.

The statement was aimed at thwarting passage of the proposal, which asks voters if they agree to abolish paragraph 1 of Article 95 of the Electricity Act, which stipulates that all nuclear power facilities shall completely cease operations by 2025.

The proposal is intended to prolong the use of nuclear power, and its passage will result in procrastination on renewable energy development projects, the statement said.

The proposal's initiator, Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) of the Kuomintang (KMT), has argued that nuclear energy is a safe, clean source of electricity that will allow time to develop renewable energy without damaging the environment or contributing to global warming.

The DPP government has targeted a mix of 50 percent natural gas, 30 percent coal, and 20 percent renewables for its electricity supply by 2025 after nuclear power is phased out.

One consequence of the phasing out of nuclear power is a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, higher than Japan's target of 56 percent or South Korea's target of 55 percent by 2030.

A leader of Taiwan's decades-long anti-nuclear movement, Lin has led several marches in Taiwan since 1994 calling for a referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant.

He never did initiate an anti-nuclear referendum after the Referendum Act was passed in 2003, but he said Wednesday he saw public enthusiasm for initiating referendum proposals this year as "progress in Taiwan's democracy" and something he admired.

That enthusiasm, stemming in part from amendments made to the Referendum Act in late 2017 that significantly lower the threshold for bringing a referendum question to a vote, has resulted in a record 10 referendum proposals up for consideration on Nov. 24.

"People who are in favor of nuclear energy or against it should make their voice heard. Leaving a decision up to the people is commendable," Lin said.

No matter the result, it should be respected, and if people find it unsatisfactory, they can seek another chance to have another referendum on the same question, he said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)