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Activists protest nuclear power at ministry's doorstep

2011/04/15 17:15:02

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) About 20 environmental activists called onthe government to stop operating Taiwan's nuclear power plants infront of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Friday.

In a prelude to a nation-wide anti-nuclear protest on April 30,this vanguard group came from the Green Citizen's Action Alliance, anenvironmental non-profit based in Taipei City.

Their demand -- the government should stop the building of afourth nuclear plant in Taiwan, and cease the operations of theexisting three plants.

The group contends that instead of nuclear power, the country canuse its reserve power supply. Right now, Taiwan can generate an extra24.3 percent over its regular capacity with emergency generators.They estimate if all nuclear plants were taken off line, the reserverate will drop to 10 percent, which is still manageable.

The group also criticized the MOEA for warning that shutting downthe plants could force a quarter to a third of companies in Taiwanout of business. They dismissed this as a "threat to the people," andasked the MOEA to stop using threats to defend the use of nuclearpower. They argued that since Taiwan has ample reserve power, thereis no reason to believe commerce would shut down.

The demonstrators demanded that the ministry come up withspecific policies to change its "unreasonable" energy structure, stopgiving subsidies to the "wrong" cause of nuclear power, and hold apublic debate with private organizations on Taiwan's energy policies.

The alliance will join forces with other environmental groups forcoordinated anti-nuclear protests in several cities, includingTaipei, on April 30.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that all of Taiwan'sfour nuclear power plants, including the one under construction, arelocated in high-hazard areas, making them vulnerable to earthquakesand tsunamis.

(By Lin Shu-yuan and Christie Chen)