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New Taipei replies to candidate's Nuke 4 criticism

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The New Taipei City Government responded late yesterday to criticism of the current mayor's stance on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant made by a mayoral candidate earlier the same day.

Members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the New Taipei City Council proposed a special referendum to terminate the Nuke 4 project while they attended New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu's (朱立倫) policy address the day before.

Chu questioned the purpose of the referendum, saying, “There should be an order of priorities whenever something needs to be done. If there is no strong guarantee of nuclear safety, then there is no possibility that Nuke 4 will be allowed to operate. Hence, what is the purpose of a referendum?”

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU, 台灣團結聯盟) New Taipei City mayoral candidate Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) criticized Chu's statement in a press conference yesterday, stating that Chu's statement is a clear lie to the general public and Chu actually only wishes to continue with the construction of Nuke 4, considering the determination of nuclear safety can only be conducted in an inspection after the completion of the plant.

Representatives of the TSU went on to state that so-called nuclear safety is an unrealistic concept, as there are no clear standards that define it. No facility is ever 100-percent foolproof, the representatives said, which means that the real problem is the unknown probability of a hazard. As such, the union suggested that even if the probability of a nuclear disaster is low, people should vote to abolish Nuke 4 through a referendum, as there is still a chance of catastrophe.

Finally, the TSU representatives pointed out that the nation's Nuke 1 and Nuke 2 are among the top three of high-hazard nuclear plants in the world. The constitution of Taiwan and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights grant people the right to freedom from fear, which in other words means the people have the right to deny Nuke 4, the representatives said.

New Taipei City officials responded to the statements of the union, stating that Chu has consistently adhered to his ideal of “No nuclear safety, no nuclear energy.” However, the officials said, a nuclear-free homeland is a goal that all of Taiwan hopes to reach.

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