Actual facts must be part of Nuke 4 power plant debate
The China Post news staffNewly appointed Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday surprised the nation by announcing the Cabinet's plan to defer the decision of whether to continue Fourth Nuclear Power Plant construction to a nationwide referendum.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Jiang added that a vote may be held in July at the earliest, eliciting varying responses across the political spectrum.
President Ma Ying-jeou supports Jiang's decision 100 percent, said the Presidential Office.
Former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), praised Jiang over the decision, but added that a referendum should be limited to New Taipei City only, as that is where the plant is currently being built.
Lu's proposal to limit the vote was echoed by Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) who said, “If there are safety concerns over (the plant), they are the concerns of Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung.”
Former DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) argued that since Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, the consensus in Taiwan has been to halt Fourth Nuclear Power Plant construction.
Tsai said that before a referendum is held, construction must be halted, adding that the vote should be focused on “whether to continue ... construction,” in response to Jiang who said that construction work and safety tests will go on as planned.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), on the other hand, said that a referendum is unnecessary, urging the Ma administration to halt all construction work immediately.
David Hong (洪德生), president of the nonprofit Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, said that the choice is essentially between “safety” and “price.”
Hong said that nuclear-generated power costs less, which will help keep average electricity prices lower.
Without nuclear power, electricity prices will be driven up, Hong stressed.
Apart from the small percentage of hydroelectric power plants on the island, most of the materials used for electricity generation in Taiwan are imported, Hong said.