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Talk of the day -- Shelving of the nuclear plant issue?

2014/04/22 18:00:36

The nearly complete fourth nuclear power plant has become the new political battlefront, with the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s unveiling of a plan last week for a special statute to allow a referendum on the controversial project to pass with a simple majority vote.

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has reportedly responded with a strategy to technically delay a decision on beginning commercial operation at the plant until after the 2016 presidential election.

The following are excerpts of major newspapers on the issue:

China Times:

After intensive meetings over the past few days, the administration has come up with a strategy of "temporarily" shelving the fourth nuclear power plant issue until safety inspections are completed.

The decision means that unless the project passes safety inspections, the government will not consider either starting the plant up or putting its fate to a referendum.

Due to the complicated procedures involved in the inspections, the ruling party predicted that the process could stretch well into 2016, after the general election in the beginning of the year.

A senior official said frankly: "If the nuclear safety inspections are not completed before 2016, there will be no rush to hold a referendum on the fourth nuclear power plant." (April 22, 2014)

United Daily News:

Encouraged by a fast initiated by former DPP Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung to highlight his stand against nuclear power, an anti-nuclear coalition consisting of dozens of non-governmental organizations urged the government Monday to halt construction on the fourth nuclear power plant immediately and amend the Referendum Act to lower the threshold for national referendums.

The activists said that if the government does not respond to their calls before Friday, they will stage a demonstration in front of the Presidential Office Saturday.

Tsui Su-hsin, secretary-general of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, called on the government to stop scaring people into agreement by warning of power shortages without the plant. She said that over 70 percent of the public oppose nuclear power and that Ma should follow public opinion to scrap the project.

Meanwhile, students at various universities are organizing sit-ins and petitions to campaign against nuclear power. (April 22, 2014)

(By Y.F. Low)