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April 29, 2017

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DPP to launch 'rational' anti-nuclear campaign

TAIPEI--The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Sunday that it will launch a "rational" anti-nuclear campaign after the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) accepted the idea of holding a referendum on the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said the party will present facts and statistics to show the public why it is not suitable for Taiwan to continue carrying out construction of the plant, which is almost complete.

Lin also disputed recent remarks from Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the country's nuclear power facility, that electricity bills will increase and the nation will be short of power if construction of the No. 4 plant is halted.

He argued that the message is a "threat" to the public and that Premier Jiang Yi-hua should listen to the opinions of both pro- and anti-nuclear groups and not unilaterally accept the suggestions of Taipower.

The political bickering between the two parties, however, continues unabated.

In a recent campaign launched by the KMT, the party accused DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen of constantly flip-flopping on the issue.

Su supported a referendum on the fate of the nuclear power plant in November 2012, but switched to an all-out halt to construction of the plant in February this year, according to the KMT.

The ruling party also noted that during Tsai's term as vice premier in 2006, she supported the continued construction of the plant, but now supports an immediate stoppage of construction.

Taiwan has three nuclear power plants, two in the north and one in the south. The oldest is slated for decommissioning by 2019, followed by the second plant by 2023, and another to be wound up by 2025.

Construction of the fourth plant began in 1999 in New Taipei on the northeast coast. But various shutdowns due to engineering problems and policy changes have delayed its completion.

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