AEC says unsuitable to incorporate regional votes in nuke act
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said yesterday that it would be unsuitable to incorporate regional referendums into the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act (核管法), because the government's nuclear policy ultimately concerns the entire nation.
March 12, 2013, 12:19 am TWN
Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers, including Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), Chen Chiech-ju (陳節如) and others, yesterday proposed amending the act so that the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant has to be approved by the county or city in which the facility is located, as well as adjacent counties and cities within a 50-km radius, via regional referendums.
Before attending yesterday's interpellation session at the Legislature, Tsai said that most of the major nations that rely on nuclear power do not include referendums within their nuclear regulations; furthermore, since nuclear policies are a national issue, whether it is appropriate to determine such policies through regional referendums remains open to discussion.
Referendums are meant as a means for the public to vote on the government's policies, while the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act is used by the relevant authorities to regulate permits and licenses once the administration has decided to invest in a project, Tsai said, adding that the two — referendums and the aforementioned act — are different by nature.
The governing authority of referendums is not the AEC, while the government body that decides where to place nuclear waste is the Ministry of Economic Affairs — neither of which falls under the jurisdiction of the AEC, Tsai said.
If the Legislature is to incorporate referendums into the nuclear regulation act, it needs to ensure that the jurisdiction and responsibilities of different organizations are clearly demarcated, Tsai said.
The question of whether the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will be scrapped may be decided via national referendum in the near future, Tsai said, adding that if lawmakers were to incorporate regional referendums into the act before the outcome of a national vote, it would create further questions as to which — national or regional referendum — has the greater legal weight.
Indigenous Peoples Council Supports Non-nuclear Goal
The Executive Yuan's Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) yesterday held a press conference, in which CIP Minister Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川) said that his council supports the objective of a “non-nuclear homeland.”
The council hopes to see the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue resolved through referendum, Sun added.