Anti-nukes poised to act April 26 against nuclear power, waste
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-04-21 06:55 PM
Former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung will begin an open-ended fast Tuesday to protest the central government’s determination to go ahead with the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant northeast of Taipei City. Several non-governmental organizations which have launched a nationwide mobile platform in opposition to the nuclear waste produced by Taiwan’s existing nuclear power plants called on the government Monday to halt the current project, and to scrap the first, second and third nuclear plants as soon as possible. They noted that the people should have a voice in the matter and called for holding a referendum on the issue to confirm the public’s opposition to the project. The NGOs said they will launch a number of sit-ins in cities and counties across Taiwan on Tuesday in sympathy with Lin’s planned fast, and threatened to gather en masse on April 26 on Ketagalan Boulevard if the government does not offer a satisfactory response.

In addition, a group of academics have launched a campaign under the theme of "Scrap nuclear power plants and struggle for democracy, scholars opposed to nuclear power." The scholars issued a statement saying that if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is allowed to go into operation it will be a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. In addition, they said, the administration does not know what to do with existing nuclear waste. The government has no ideas for processing the waste and is running out of storage space, they said, and agencies that should be finding solutions to these problems are wasting taxpayers' money by spewing out one-sided propaganda to intimidate people into accepting nuclear power. The academics say they have thus decided to stand up and join the chorus of those struggling to bring a halt to Taiwan’s use of nuclear power and its reckless nuclear waste policies.

The academics pledged to explore the nuclear power and nuclear waste dispute in university classrooms and on campus wherever possible. Their petition has already been signed by more than a hundred scholars including Fan Yun, an associate professor in the National Taiwan University Department of Sociology who recently participated in launching the action by students to occupy the Executive Yuan, as well as Tsui Yang, an associate professor in the Department of Chinese at Donghua University and the mother of student protester Wei Yang.

Tsui Su-hsin, Secretary-General of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance, said Monday morning that Lin Yi-hsiung’s announcement that he will stage a fast to protest nuclear power and nuclear waste focuses attention on the right of the people to demand a halt in the project. She said the goal of the anti-nuclear groups is to spread the movement to the whole nation and bring a halt to the use of nuclear energy and the production of nuclear waste. Tsui called on President Ma Ying-jeou to recognize the reality of public opinion surveys that show the people oppose nuclear power and to promptly announce an end to nuclear power plant construction. She added that the government cannot allowed to use the excuse that older nuclear power plants are nearing obsolescence to say that new ones should be built.

Monday morning He Li-wei, a spokesman for the Ilan Endowment for the Humanities, claimed that 20 years ago the Atomic Energy Council had attempted to dump “2000 tons” of nuclear waste that had been produced in a project to develop an atomic bomb by using it to top off Route 9 in Taoyuan County. As a result the road surface became radioactive and the council was forced to rip it up and transport it to the Dahan Creek area in Ilan County. He noted that the current dump site is only nine kilometers upstream from a water purification plant.

Starting Tuesday several civic groups will organize ‘candlelight watches’ nightly at 9pm in Daan Forest Park to symbolize points of light protesting the production of nuclear waste. They are also putting together sit-in protests at Taichung, Chiayi, Taoyuan and other places around the island in the coming days. The Southern Taiwan Nuclear Abolishment Action Alliance plans a yellow ribbon event in the area between two MRT stations in Kaohsiung this week. The anti-nuclear groups say that if the government does not give a satisfactory response to their actions on the 24th, they will take more drastic action on the 26th and gather on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the President’s Office in Taipei.

Ma Yin-pang, director of the Nuclear Energy Institute of the AEC, disputed He Li-wei’s claims about nuclear waste from the atomic bomb project. Ma said the program had produced no waste and current inventory is only about one ton, 99% of which is uranium and only one kilogram of plutonium 239. Ma added said that these materials are regularly checked by international nuclear monitoring organizations and those interested can find other information on the commission’s website.

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