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72% favor halt to Nuke 4 ahead of referendum

TAIPEI--Just over 72 percent of respondents feel it is best to suspend work on the nearly completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant until a national referendum is held to decide its fate, according to a survey published by a green-leaning think tank Tuesday.

The poll found that 65.6 percent of respondents would vote to cancel the project in such a referendum, according to the Taiwan Thinktank, a policy institute headed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lin Chia-lung.

Responses indicate a consistent majority of those poll worried about the new plant and Taiwan's nuclear power facilities in general, with 63.3 percent agreeing that Taiwan should abandon the fourth plant because nobody can guarantee nuclear safety.

Asked about the ongoing debate over whether restrictions for referendums should be relaxed, 64.8 percent of all respondents agreed that the voter turnout requirement for plebiscites should be abolished and a vote should pass with a simple majority, no matter how many people show up to cast their ballots.

The question reflects the policy of the DPP, which has in recent days pushed to reform the current law that requires participation from 50 percent of all eligible voters for a referendum to be valid.

The poll was carried out April 26-28 and collected 1,024 valid responses with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

On Sunday, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou and the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) announced a halt to construction on the plant's nearly complete first and second reactors after a meeting among mayors and county magistrates in the party.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah Monday clarified that the government has not scrapped the plant, much less nuclear power in general, but has only ceased work on the project pending safety checks.

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