DPP encourages Taiwan youth to oppose nuclear energy
President Ma to meet Mom Loves Taiwan action group
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-03-29 05:27 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Democratic Progressive Party marked Youth Day Friday by calling on young people to actively take part in the opposition against nuclear energy.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah announced last month he wanted to hold a nationwide referendum before the end of the year about the fourth nuclear plant now under construction in New Taipei City.

The DPP said its own polls had shown that 74 percent of students opposed the completion of the project, while only 21.6 percent supported it. Young people should stand up and let their opinion be heard by President Ma Ying-jeou, DPP youth department chief Chang Chi-chang said Friday.

Each school should have an anti-nuclear group of its own, while young people should use their creativity and their imagination to design original events opposing the nuclear plant, he said. Showing documentaries about the nuclear power industry and its problems, and holding ‘unplugged’ concerts were two ways to promote the cause, the DPP said.

President Ma Ying-jeou was going to meet representatives Sunday of Mom Loves Taiwan, the association of mothers critical of nuclear energy founded earlier this month by Irene Chen, executive director of the Fubon Cultural and Educational Foundation, the Presidential Office announced Friday.

The group has called on the government and on state-run Taiwan Power Corporation to examine the new nuclear plant and to publish all relevant statistics and safety reports.

Before a referendum takes place, citizens must be provided with all the relevant information so they can make the right choice, the organization said. It has also called for the development of alternatives to nuclear energy and for the shutting down of all dangerous reactors.

The meeting between Ma and the Mom Loves Taiwan delegation would be completely open to the media, presidential spokeswoman Garfie Lee said. She added that the Presidential Office had already sought contact with nuclear activists before March 9, when an estimated 220,000 people took to the street across Taiwan to mark the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and oppose the fourth plant.

A rational exchange of ideas was helpful to the formation of public policies in a democratic society, Lee said. She added a defense of the government’s decision to submit the fate of the fourth nuclear plant to a national referendum.

Anti-nuclear activists have said that a decision by the Cabinet approved by the Legislative Yuan would be enough to stop the project, or that if there were a referendum, it should be local, with the residents of cities and counties within an area of 50 kilometers around the plant having the right to vote.

Ma has rejected the arguments because he said it would not end the controversy over the plant, which started at least 20 years ago.

The president, who also serves as chairman of the Kuomintang, was also reportedly planning to invite all its lawmakers to party headquarters for a discussion of the nuclear issue next Monday. Several KMT legislators have been critical of the government’s support for nuclear energy, especially as opinion polls have shown majorities against. Monday’s meeting was supposed to work out a strategy and a timetable for moving the referendum proposal through the Legislature, reports said.

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