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DPP sets nuclear exit as legislative priority, KMT calls for communication

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has set nuclear power abolishment as its top priority during the next legislative session, while the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has called for stepped-up communications between the Executive and Legislative Yuans over the issue.

Several bills are pending review at the Legislative Yuan, including the “Nuke-Free Home Act” proposed by the DPP and portions of an amendment to the “Nuclear Reactor Regulatory Act” proposed by DPP Legislator Chen Chieh-ju.

The Nuke-Free Home Act calls for a ban on the issuance of licenses to those using nuclear reactors to generate electricity. Those who have licenses to do so shall not get their licenses renewed.

If the bill becomes law, it will ban the operations of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which is currently under construction in Kungliao District, New Taipei City.

Meanwhile, the amendment to the Nuclear Reactor Regulatory Act gives those living within 50 kilometers of a nuclear power plant the right to decide whether the reactor should continue to operate.

“The ruling party should agree to let local residents decide whether nuclear plants should be kept,” said DPP lawmaker Cheng Li-chun. “The best way to ban the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is to pass the Nuke-Free Home Act.”

According to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant road map drawn by Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), the firm will apply for an operation license for reactor No. 1 by February or March of 2014. Review will take about three months. Once the license is issued, Taipower must test the reactor for a full year before it goes into commercial operation.

Lin Hung-chih, director of the Central Policy Committee of the ruling KMT, said communications between the Executive and Legislative Yuans over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant must be strengthened.

“We must include public input in the discourse on nuclear power,” he said.

Separately, anti-nuclear civilian groups are set to hold demonstrations in different places in Taiwan on March 9, the eve of the two-year anniversary of the earthquake and the ensuing nuclear disaster in Japan on March 11, 2011.

Demonstrations will be held in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Taitung, said Wang Shun-wei of the Green Citizens' Action Alliance.

The protest in Taipei will be held on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office and will last until the following day, in which protesters will hoist the official anti-nuclear banner designed by a local environmentalist, she said.

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