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Taiwan

Taiwan nuclear plant prompts protests

Earthquake-prone Taiwan rallies against nuclear power

Francis Kuo, Taichung

Francis Kuo, Taichung

Updated: April 11, 2013 10:26 PM GMT
Taiwan nuclear plant prompts protests
An illustration for the no-nuke campaign

More than 100 artists are participating in an anti-nuke exhibit opening today in Taichung.

It is the first large scale anti-nuclear campaign since an island-wide, 200,000-person protest in early March forced the government to consider a referendum on the Lungmen Nuclear Plant by the end of the year.

“The Taiwan Power Company overestimates its ability to cope with all technical issues of the Lungmen Plant,” said Tsai Chih-hao, executive secretary of the Taiwan Academy of Ecology.

“The government should squarely face the consequences and not shun its responsibility by introducing a highly controversial referendum,” Tsai said.

The Lungmen Plant began construction in 1999 but has been delayed several times due to political controversy. It had to delay commercial operations expected in 2012 after revelations of construction mismanagement.

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Meanwhile, the ruling Nationalist Party today led a vote in the legislature against a proposal to stop construction altogether. 

The public is particularly concerned about nuclear safety after Japan’s Fukushima disaster. Taiwan lies on a seismic belt and has experienced several earthquakes in the past year.

The Lungmen Plant is located in northern Taiwan, close to the capital city of Taipei. Six million people would be affected in the event of an accident.

It will be Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant. Taiwan’s current three provide 15 percent of the country’s electricity, a recent study found. 

In a press conference today, exhibit organizer Chen Yu-feng said the display is “a social movement to demand that the Taiwan government stops the construction of Lungmen Nuclear Plant immediately and abolishes the referendum.”

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