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I will vote for halt to work on 4th nuke plant: Taipei mayor

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday if a referendum on halting the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant were held tomorrow, he would vote against construction.

Hau said he agrees with the idea of holding a potential referendum on the issue, assuming experts determine that Nuke 4, as it is colloquially known, is safe to operate.

Hau, who majored in chemistry, said he studied science in the past, and noted that if one step goes wrong during an experiment, than the entire endeavor can go wrong. Hau said that this is the case with Nuke 4.

As construction on Nuke 4 has been postponed and resumed several times over the decades, Hau said, he has doubts about the quality of the construction procedure.

With these concerns in mind, Hau said he would vote for halting Nuke 4's construction in any potential referendum.

Besides concerns about the Nuke 4 construction, Hau said Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電) is still unable to dispose of radioactive waste in an efficient and safe manner.

The mayor said Taipower has been disposing used fuel rods at the First, Second and Third Nuclear Power Plant sites, adding that the power plants are close to reaching their disposal limits. Low-level waste is generally stored on Lanyu island.

Halt Nuke 4 Without Referendum

Hau said it is against the constitution for the Executive Yuan to halt Nuke 4's construction, adding that after a period of negation and discussion, however, the Legislature has the power to halt such construction.

Hau said he noticed that the people's voice on the issue is becoming louder and clearer. Hau said if the majority of society can reach a consensus on Nuke 4's fate, then the Legislature and the government need to consider if there is any reason to hold a potential referendum.

“It would cost a large sum of money and social resources to hold a potential referendum,” Hau said.

Taipower Contingency Plan

Hau said Taipower needs to think about a contingency plan if a referendum votes against Nuke 4's construction.

Hau said the government and Taipower should educate people on how to conserve energy and electricity in a more effective way.

“If Taiwan wants to become a nuclear-free homeland, we have to all bear the consequences,” Hau said.

Hau urged the government to invite international nuclear power experts to Taiwan and review the power plant's condition as soon as possible, and to make all information public.

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