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September 20, 2017

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Nuke 4 construction halts amid protest

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Anti-nuclear power protesters yesterday staged a massive demonstration in Taipei, parading from Ketagalan Boulevard to Zhongxiao W. Rd., while Kuomintang officials reached a consensus to halt construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant with immediate effect.

In response, protesters said the ruling party announced that it will "halt" construction, not "terminate" the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, demanding that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) hold a press conference and make an official announcement.

KMT Consensus

According to the Kuomintang (KMT) consensus, construction of the plant's nearly completed No. 1 and No. 2 reactors will be halted. The No. 1 reactor, which is currently undergoing safety inspections, will not be activated when the inspections have been completed, said Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基), head of the KMT's Culture and Communications Committee.

The Executive Yuan has also promised to convene a national energy conference as soon as possible "to ensure there will be no cause for concern over power supply," he said.

The two-point consensus was reached during a meeting attended by President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, the premier as well as KMT mayors and magistrates, including Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).

Whether or not the plant should be put into operation will be decided by a national referendum, Fan Chiang said, adding that the timetable for the referendum should be decided by the public.

As for whether the KMT will agree to a reduced threshold for the referendum, Fan Chiang said that the issue was not a part of the meeting's conclusion, although opinions on the matter were voiced during the meeting.

Given that the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan and the KMT caucus have all agreed to immediately halt construction, it is unnecessary to revise the minimum voter turnout requirement for referendums, KMT Policy Committee chief executive Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.

After the meeting, the premier visited the Gikong Presbyterian Church, where former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Lin Yi-hsiung (林義雄) is holding a hunger strike against nuclear power.

The premier informed Lin via a pastor about the decision to immediately halt construction of the power plant.

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