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Government accused of nuclear cover-up
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-04 03:59 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Environmentalists accused the government Tuesday of trying to suppress a report showing that there would be no power shortages without the fourth nuclear plant.

The Green Citizens’ Action Alliance said the report by the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that there might not be a problem even if the country’s three existing nuclear power plants were shut down.

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly warned of power shortages if the fourth plant, now nearing completion near Gongliao, New Taipei City, were not taken into use. The government proposed a nationwide referendum on the project a year ago, but fierce opposition has stalled the proposal. Opponents say a plebiscite is a waste of resources because most opinion polls show a vast majority against the plant.

Alliance official Hung Shen-han said the government tried to convince the public that if the three existing plants were shut down gradually and if the fourth were launched, there would be no problem, but if it were not opened at all, power shortages would emerge. Yet the MOEA report showed that if all government departments took immediate action to cut energy usage, the expected growth in energy needs could be slowed down to 1.41 percent from the present 3.89 percent, Hung said.

In that case, the usage of power would still be lower than under government predictions and the fourth nuclear plant would not be necessary, according to the environmentalist.

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Cheng Li-chiun told the media that the report had shown up the government’s lies. Still, the data had not broken the Ma Administration’s determination to keep spreading lies by broadcasting ads claiming the new power plant was necessary, she said. The government was misusing taxpayers’ funds to brainwash the public, according to Cheng.

The environmentalist alliance said the ads, which were frequently shown at movie theaters recently, not only cost too much but were also based on old information dating back to before the MOEA report was drawn up.

The alliance is one of several groups preparing for a major anti-nuclear protest on March 8 to mark the third anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. Safety inspections at the Gongliao plant were expected to be completed in June with the installation of fuel rods ready to begin by the end of the year if the safety review produced positive results, reports said.

Organizers were hoping that more than the 220,000 people who turned up at similar protests last year would attend this month’s events planned for Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Taitung.

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