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New Taipei referendum proposal to be sent to Cabinet

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A New Taipei City referendum proposal on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was recognized on April 3 by the New Taipei referendum review commission, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said yesterday, adding that the city will soon present the proposal to the Executive Yuan.

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 the fate of Nuke 4, as it is colloquially known.

According to the New Taipei City Government, the city's referendum review commission reached the conclusion that the Nuke 4 issue exclusively pertained to the New Taipei City jurisdiction and thus passed Lu's proposal.

Chu said the referendum review commission is formed of domestic scholars and experts in civil affairs, adding that the decision is based on their professional opinions and thus he respects the commission's decision.

Chu said the New Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs will send the local referendum proposal to the Cabinet for ratification on April 15, adding that if the Executive Yuan does not object to the proposal, the city government will move the proposal to the next stage.

When reporters asked Chu if the local referendum proposal would conflict with the Kuomintang's (KMT) likely referendum proposal on Nuke 4, Chu said he does not have a position on that matter.

Radioactive Waste

Chu said the most important issue for New Taipei citizens is if the nuclear power plants are safe to operate, noting that so far people do not have faith in the information provided by the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower,台電) or the Atomic Energy Council.

The mayor said not only does New Taipei have to worry about Nuke 4, it must also worry about the disposal of radioactive waste and the First and Second Nuclear Power Plants, which have long been a difficult issue for the city.

Chu said the island has been using nuclear power for decades; however, radioactive waste disposal methods are still not satisfactory. Chu added that now is a good time for the entire nation to discuss this difficult issue.

Chu stressed that if Taiwan is unable to dispose of radioactive waste in an efficient and safe manner, then the nation should not adopt nuclear power.

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