(December 1, 2000) Taiwan's anti-nuclear government announced on 27 October 2000 that the partly built Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project (Lungmen) will be cancelled. The opposition reacted with anger to the announcement, calling for impeachment of the president.
(538.5217) WISE Amsterdam - (538.5217) WISE Amsterdam The recommendation to cancel the project was followed by the resignation of the previous Premier, Tang Fei (see WISE News Communique 535.5204). The new Premier, Chang Chung-hsiung, made the announcement of the plant's cancellation, pledging also to make Taiwan nuclear-free. "We must make a rational, responsible choice for the sake of Taiwan's posterity" he told a news conference.
The nuclear question was one of the issues in last March's elections, which resulted in an end to the 50-year rule of the nationalist KuoMinTang (KMT) party, and victory for the anti-nuclear Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). However, the DPP faces considerable problems in making Taiwan nuclear-free. Besides the KMT, which is now the largest opposition party in Taiwan, the People First Party and the New Party also fear power shortages from the project's cancellation. The three opposition parties together dominate the 221-member legislature, and plan to co-operate in trying to reverse the decision.
The KMT is particularly annoyed that the announcement came less than an hour after a conciliatory meeting between President Chen Shui-bian and Lien Chan, chairman of the KMT. Lien described the bad timing as "very rude, impolite and childish", and Wang Jin-pyng, KMT vice chairman, called for the President's impeachment. However James Soong, leader of the People First Party, thinks this would cause too much political turmoil. Instead, he supports a no-confidence vote against the cabinet.
Meanwhile, anti-nuclear protests in Taiwan continue. On 25 October, dozens of anti-nuclear activists threw empty nuclear waste storage barrels into the square in front of KMT headquarters in Taipei. "Three operational nuclear plants, built under inappropriate policy made by former KMT administrations, have turned several towns into nuclear dump sites," said a resident of a town near an existing nuclear power plant. Protestors said KMT officials should take some nuclear waste home with them to experience for themselves the fear of contamination.
WISE Kaliningrad has obtained documents on an illegal deal concerning import of Taiwanese radioactive waste to the far east of Russia. Vladimir Slivyak from Ecodefense and WISE Kaliningrad e-mailed details to local Taiwanese groups, saying "Russian environmental and citizens groups will actively and successfully oppose any efforts to construct a repository that includes the added complication of foreign radioactive waste."
NOTE: Each of Taiwan's nuclear power plants has two reactors, therefore there are currently six reactors in three plants, and the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (Lungmen) was to contain the seventh and eighth reactors.
- The Taipei Times Online, 26 October 2000
- Reuters, 27 October 2000 and 30 October 2000
- WISE News Communique 535.5204: "Taiwan: committee votes to stop construction of Lungmen, premier resigns"
Contact: Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, #29, Lane 128, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan,
Tel +886 2 363 6419, Fax +886 2 362 3458,