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Budget for 4th nuclear power plant approved amid protests

2011/06/13 17:30:29

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan approved the budgetfor Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant for this year Monday amidprotests staged by anti-nuclear activists outside the legislature.

The ruling Kuomintang (KMT)-dominated legislature passed a budgetof more than NT$14 billion (US$486 million) for thestill-under-construction fourth nuclear power plant, operated by thestate-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower).

The approval came despite stiff resistance from the oppositionDemocratic Progressive Party (DPP) and protests by anti-nucleargroups that expressed concern over a nuclear disaster like the one atthe Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that occurred in Japan inthe wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis there.

The DPP proposed completely eliminating the budget, but thelegislature later passed the KMT's proposal, prompting DPP lawmakersto shout slogans, including "nuclear-free homeland, " to expresstheir protest.

The KMT caucus also voted against 10 DPP proposals aimed atholding a referendum to decide whether the construction of the powerplant should be completed or immediately halted for a safety reviewby local and foreign experts.

Another DPP proposal asking for the early retirement of thecountry's existing nuclear power plants and a ban on any extension oftheir service lives also failed to clear the floor.

Before the lawmakers began voting on the proposals, the activistsurged the government to make public the budget details and otherinformation related to the fourth nuclear power plant, located on thenortheastern coast of New Taipei City.

They also criticized the government for failing to allow thepublic to take part in the decision-making process on the issue.

(By Chen Wei-ting, Ho Meng-kuei, Justin Su, Wei Kuei-hsiang and Alex