Premier asserts Nuke 4 plans unchanged
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan --Approving a referendum for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant does not mean the government has changed its plans to launch the power plant, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Jiang made his comments following an announcement Monday on the Kuomintang's stance over a referendum to decide the fate of the controversial power plant.
We just want to reach a solution for this two-decade-long controversy once and for all, Jiang said.
In his report over the Cabinet's plans, which began at 6 p.m. last night after an entire day of closed-door negotiations with opposition party legislators, Jiang said that the government is ready to initiate a string of security checks for the nuclear plant to ensure its safety. He also said that the government is doing its best to find solutions that may eventually lead to a nuclear-free nation.
If, however, the people of the nation are still highly concerned about nuclear safety after what the government presents, Jiang said he agrees that it is fair for the people to decide the plant's future.
But, he added, the people will need to face the possibilities of a wavering economy, higher electricity prices and power shortages if they decide to scrap the nuclear plant.
At a new Yuan Sitting yesterday, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) boycotted the meeting, demanding the termination of the Nuke 4 project, freezing the budget and amending the referendum laws.
Jiang also remarked that the Cabinet is entirely respectful of the Legislative Yuan's decision yesterday to delay the budget review for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
The premier concluded that the government was not likely to halt the Nuke 4 project in accordance with the DPP's requests, as the project has already proceeded into the safety inspection stages. But, Jiang said, it is possible to delay the budgeted NT$11.7 billion for Nuke 4 this year if the Legislature wishes it so.
The Cabinet hopes that the entire nation can fully understand Taiwan's nuclear power situation so that the Legislature can make progress on the issue, Jiang explained.
He said that the threshold to launch a referendum should not be set too low.
According to Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), the referendum system is designed to supplement what a representative democracy lacks. It should only be used for controversial nationwide topics which government leaders have a hard time reaching a consensus. That is why the threshold for holding a referendum should not be lowered, she said.
Cheng added that Jiang's ultimate goals are to strengthen Taiwan's democracy and to build a better communication platform between the ruling and opposition parties.