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Anti-nuclear campaigners promise continuing action
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-03 03:26 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Campaigners against the fourth nuclear plant said they would continue their actions despite a possible decrease in public attention, reports said Saturday.

Former Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung ended his hunger strike on April 30 after nine days, as the government made partial concessions on the issue of the nuclear reactors now nearing completion in Gongliao, New Taipei City.

The mass protests during Lin’s fast were unlikely to be repeated at short notice, but activists said they would convert one of their groups into a “May 6 Movement Citizens’ Forum.” They said they would continue to keep a close eye on the government’s promise to seal the power plant’s first reactor and to stop work on the second reactor. In addition, there was a need to reveal all the scandals surrounding the fourth plant, since they could not be sealed.

In the light of government threats that electricity might become more expensive if the fourth plant was not completed, the activists demanded a transparent and clear formula for the calculation of power rates.

Since nuclear energy was not safe, the activists also called for a quicker phasing out of the existing three nuclear plants in New Taipei City and Pingtung County. The country’s future energy policies would have to be decided by the people, the campaigners said.

Therefore, it was necessary to lower the threshold in the existing Referendum Act, they said. At present, the outcome of a plebiscite is only valid if at least 50 percent of eligible voters have cast their vote. The law has been the target of reformers for years, but the ruling Kuomintang argues that referendums will lose their legitimacy if the threshold is too low.

The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party recently proposed a special law which would do away with the 50-percent requirement for votes about public policy issues such as nuclear energy. The party wanted the proposal to go straight to a second reading, but the KMT used its majority to refer it to a review by committees instead.

The DPP said it was willing to abandon its proposal if there was hope for the existing Referendum Act to be amended.

Anti-nuclear activists have given the government’s apparent change of heart about the fourth nuclear plant a cautious reception because many of them still believe the KMT will change its mind and move forward with the project at a later date. Critics said the government should scrap the plant immediately and completely, and not dump any more taxpayers’ money on any related items.

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