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September 25, 2017

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DPP leader warns of 'unrest' over Nuke 4

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou should resolve the dispute over Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant since he has the responsibility to prevent "national and social unrest" as the person in charge, opposition leader Su Tseng-chang said Saturday.

"The president has no inkling that unrest is about to befall our society," he said.

The chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made the comments at the start of a road running event that is part of anti-nuclear demonstrations planned for this weekend.

They include an ongoing sit-in in front of the Presidential Office and an afternoon parade on Sunday.

Some two dozen DPP lawmakers began their sit-in late Friday to lend their support to Lin Yi-hsiung, a former party chairman party who has been on a hunger strike since Tuesday to demand a halt to the nearly completed nuclear power project.

The opposition party and anti-nuclear activists are also calling for an early decommissioning of Taiwan's three nuclear power plants currently in operation and for the referendum threshold to be lowered.

The Referendum Act of 2006 requires the participation of more than half of Taiwan's 18 million eligible voters for a referendum to be valid.

In a meeting with Su Thursday, Ma stated the administration's position of holding a referendum after ongoing safety inspections on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant are completed.

Until the people give their approval in a referendum, fuel rods will not be installed and the nuclear plant will not become operational, the president said.

He rejected Su's call for a referendum to be held immediately and for the referendum threshold to be lowered.

The president also ruled out stopping the nuclear project by issuing an executive order, saying the people will have to decide through a referendum.

The safety inspections by Taiwanese and international experts began in late 2013 and are expected to last a few more months.

Construction of the fourth nuclear power plant began in 2009 at a cost of nearly NT$283 billion (US$93.69 billion).

The president, who also serves as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), and Premier Jiang Yi-huah will meet KMT mayors and magistrates to discuss the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project and try to build a consensus about the issue, a party official said Saturday.

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