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EPA chief wants rational nuke talks

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Environmental Protection Administration Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) yesterday said that he does not support or oppose the use of nuclear power and hopes everyone can discuss the issue rationally.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀), who went on a four-day hunger strike protesting the use of nuclear power, questioned Wei regarding the nuclear issue at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Chen said that from an environmental protection angle, nuclear waste and radiation exposure will inflict great harm on people. Based on research by the American Nuclear Society on over 400 nuclear power plants, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant can be considered an unsafe power plant even before it starts operation.

Chen continued that if Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) has a plan on how to dispose of nuclear waste and has adequate evacuation equipment in case of a nuclear disaster, he would agree to the further construction of Nuke 4. However, according to Chen, Taipower hasn't been able to address these issues.

When asked by Chen about his standpoint on nuclear power, Wei said that he does not have a particular standpoint on the issue but would like to see everyone discuss the matter in a rational and scientific manner.

Chen immediately responded by saying that Wei's answer represented the “cold-bloodedness” of the administration led by President Ma Ying-jeou.

Wei said that the nuclear power issue is a matter of choice, adding that if Taiwan switches to burning coal or natural gas to generate all energy, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) would have concerns over carbon dioxide emissions.

By the end of the questioning session, Chen said that he wanted to pay his respects to an EPA official who posted anti-nuclear power statements on Facebook, surprising those in attendance at the meeting.

However, when asked about Chen's remakrs, the EPA official in question said she never posted any anti-nuclear power statements on her Facebook page.

EPA Rejects New Cingjing Farm Project

The EPA yesterday rejected Nantou County's request for an environmental impact assessment on the new Cingjing Farm Project.

According to the EPA, the project did not correspond to the latest information published by the Central Geological Survey regarding landslide risks, so the administration asked the Nantou County Government to adjust the plan before returning it for assessment.

There are currently 109 hotels located in Cingjing Farm, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI). However, only five of them meet regulations.

The MOI and Nantou County ordered seven unregistered hostels at the farm to be scheduled for immediate closure last December.

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