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August 20, 2017

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100,000 in protests against use of nuclear power: organizers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- At least 100,000 people from eight cities and counties took to the streets to demand that the government stop using nuclear power immediately, environmental protection organizations announced yesterday.

The organizations launched anti-nuclear power protests yesterday as the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster nears its three-year anniversary.

According to the anti-nuclear groups, protesters in eight cities and counties — Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Yilan, Miaoli, Tainan, and Pingtung — joined in the demonstrations.

The anti-nuclear action platform said that the government continues to claim that it will lower the amount of nuclear power that is used gradually, but no action has been taken thus far.

The platform also said that the government has ignored the over-50 percent of Taiwanese who want to stop nuclear power usage and chose to continue building the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

According to the protest organizers, the government also failed to take action to solve issues such as nuclear waste, increasing the odds of citizens and wildlife being exposed to lethal radiation.

The main appeals of the nationwide protest, according to environmental protection organizations, were that the government should stop the use of nuclear power immediately by ceasing operations at Nukes 1, 2, and 3.

Environmental protection organizations also demanded that the government remove nuclear waste from Orchid Island while reviewing the policy on how to properly handle nuclear waste. The organizations, however, did not voice their suggestions for possible disposal sites for already-existing nuclear waste.

The Legislative Yuan should also take action to revoke the budget for Nuke 4, environmental protection organizations said.

According to organizers, the protests were originally scheduled to take place in Taipei, Taichung, Taitung and Kaohsiung, but students and youth from a total of eight cities and counties voluntarily joined the anti-nuclear power protest the day before it took place.

Same Standpoint, not Same Timeline: Executive Yuan

Executive Yuan spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) yesterday said that the government also supports the idea of no nuclear power, but it has a different timeline to reach the goal than the expectations of protesters.

"The standpoint of the Executive Yuan has always been to transform Taiwan into a nuclear power-free nation," said Sun. "However, based on the current power demand, the government cannot cease the nuclear power plants' operation immediately."

Sun said that the Executive Yuan's principle still remains: no safety, no nuclear power.

According to Sun, a referendum on the construction of Nuke 4 can only be proposed by the Legislative Yuan, but the Executive Yuan is willing to accept the challenge of a referendum.

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