Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) Environmental groups staged a protest infront of the Legislative Yuan Tuesday, urging lawmakers not to increase the budget for the construction of the country's fourthnuclear power plant.
The construction project has been plagued by a series of errorsand accidents over the past year, which indicates that Taiwan PowerCompany (Taipower) is incapable of designing and building a safenuclear power plant, the activists said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Atomic Energy Councilseem to have lost control of the nuclear plant project, located inNew Taipei City's Gongliao District, said Tsui Su-hsin,secretary-general of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance.
She urged the Legislature to reject any proposals to increase thebudget for what she called the "money pit" project, which began in1982, put to a complete halt in 2000 and was restarted in 2001.
Citing Taipower Chairman Chen Kuei-ming's report to thelegislature on Jan. 6, Tsui said "the No. 1 generator will not begincommercial operations until late 2012 because there are still someproblems with its instrumentation and control system that have notyet been fixed."
She said that while nuclear energy experts are shocked byTaipower's mistakes on the project, the Ministry of Economic Affairsis planning to pour another NT$10 billion (US$333.33 million) intothe plant.
This will make it the world's most expensive nuclear power plant,with a price tag of NT$273.7 billion, she said..
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chinsupported the protesters' views, calling for Taipower to step up itsinvestigations into the spate of mistakes and accidents on theproject over the past year and to give the public an explanation ofthe problems.
The government has been pouring funds into the fourth nuclearpower plant, while dragging its feet on the development of solarenergy, she said.
"This has caused people to question the government's resolve topromote the development of green energy," Tien said.
(By Ho Meng-kuei and Deborah Kuo)