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September 21, 2017

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Nuclear energy issues difficult: Czech envoy

TAIPEI -- Nuclear energy issues are complicated and difficult to deal with for any politician, the Czech Republic's envoy to Taiwan said.

"The nuclear energy (issue) is a combination of emotional and technical issues," said Juraj Koudelka, representative of the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

"It's difficult for any politicians to find the balance between these two," Koudelka said, adding that what Taiwan is going through at the moment is similar to the situation in his Eastern European nation.

The Czech Republic is planning to construct a new extension for its existing two nuclear power plants, part of the nation's efforts to generate half of its electricity from nuclear power by 2040.

This plan has given rise to concerns among the people of the region, including neighboring Austria, according to Koudelka.

"General public views are never just one-sided or the other-sided. It's always mixed," he said, adding that the Czech government has taken all reservations seriously and is trying to reassure people about the safety of nuclear energy.

Koudelka's remarks came amid increasing public concern over whether Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant should be completed. These worries have galvanized opposition to the use of nuclear power in Taiwan, culminating in nationwide anti-nuclear rallies, one of which drew an estimated 200,000 people in March.

The Taiwanese government has reiterated that safety is central to its policy of using nuclear power and that it will only allow the fourth nuclear power plant to begin operations after it has been proven safe and obtains the support of the public through a referendum.

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