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Greater Taipei mayors stand together on issue of Nuke 4

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said yesterday in separate remarks that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should only go ahead if experts guarantee that it can operate safely.

Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung are standing together on the issue, as Nuke 4 is located in Northern Taiwan, Hau said.

The plant can only be operated if it is evaluated by professionals who ensure that it poses no safety hazards, he said.

Since the government decided to hold a referendum on the future of the project, it is necessary to educate the public about all the issues related to the plant, Hau said.

The public needs to know if the plant will be safe, and needs access to professional evaluations of the plant's potential energy supply, the Taipei mayor stressed. Only then can voters make a rationale decision on whether the plant should be scrapped.

Hau stressed that he has not strayed from his motto of “no safety, no operation of the nuclear power plant.” Nuke 4 can be allowed to operate under only the strictest safety standards, he said.

Taipower's Radioactive Waste Disposal Unacceptable: Chu

New Taipei Mayor Chu said that the referendum on the fate of the plant is a healthy exercise for the public to participate in, adding that he supports the right of everyone to stand up and express their opinions on what to do with the plant.

He said that the issue of radioactive waste disposal should be seriously reviewed, as Taiwan Power Co.'s (Taipower, 台電) current method is unacceptable to the public.

Radioactive waste disposal has long been a bothersome issue for New Taipei City. The first and second nuclear power plants are located in New Taipei, yet Taipower is still unable to dispose of radioactive waste in an efficient and safe manner, Chu said.

Everyone has doubts about the safety of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the New Taipei mayor said, claiming that Taipower and the Atomic Energy Council have lost their credibility among the public.

Chu said he hopes that international and domestic nuclear power experts can work with the New Taipei City Nuclear Power Plant Safety Monitoring Committee to monitor and ensure the safety of the plant.

Taipower has not said how much more funding will be required to complete work on the plant, according to Chu, who warned the final total could exceed NT$60 billion or even NT$100 billion. Taipower has explained financial difficulties regarding Nuke 4's construction, but has failed to provide solutions.

The state energy firm is obliged to disclose all relevant information about the plant to the public, he said, and called on all political parties to “take their hands off the Nuke 4 referendum.”

A national referendum should not involve political interference, he said.

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