No safety, no Nuke 4, no matter what: Chu
By Lauly Li, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said yesterday at the New Taipei City Council that even if a potential referendum approves construction of the fourth nuclear plant, the plant may not become operational because of safety requirements.
March 16, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Chu noted that if Nuke 4, as it is colloquially known, is not safe, the government should halt Nuke 4 operation, saying “no safety, no Nuke 4.”
Chu said the presupposition of the referendum should be whether or not the nation is willing to bear the consequences of not having the plant.
If the referendum disapproves Nuke 4's construction, Chu said, then the nation should discuss potential adjustments to the structure of Taiwan's future industry, electricity price adjustment issues and how to conserve energy.
Nuke 4 a National Concern
Chu went to the city council to report on the progress of the Nuke 4 local referendum proposal. Earlier in March former Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) went to New Taipei City Hall to deliver a petition calling for a local referendum on Nuke 4's fate.
Chu said it is obvious to everyone whether or not the referendum should be local or national. “Can we criticize other cities for expressing their opinions on Nuke 4?” Chu added that as the mayor of New Taipei, what he can do is to encourage residents to express their opinions and to vote on Nuke 4's fate.
No Political Interference
A referendum system is designed to supplement what a representative democracy lacks, Chu said, adding that Taiwan has held six national referendums and all fell short of the 50-percent participation threshold.
Chu said past referendums failed because they were held in conjunction with national elections.
Democratic Progressive Party City Councilor Shen Fa-hui (沈發惠) urged the mayor to declare his position on the potential Nuke 4 referendum in the city council.
Chu said a referendum represents a matured democracy. Chu said politicians should not tell citizens how they should vote. To do so may offend voters leading them to avoid voting.
The only task for the politicians is to encourage people to vote, Chu said.
Chu Supports Absentee Voting
Chu reiterated that he supports an absentee ballot proposal as New Taipei has over 1 million people who reside in other cities. Chu added that an absentee ballot would increase voter turnout at any potential referendum.
“I will cast my vote on the potential Nuke 4 referendum,” Chu said, “no matter whether citizens vote yes or no, their opinion should be respected.”