DPP calls on Taiwan government to stop 4th nuclear plant

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang on Tuesday vowed to block extra budgets for the fourth nuclear plant while calling on the government to stop building the project.
As Premier Jiang Yi-huah and his Cabinet were sworn in Monday, the Taiwan Power Corporation said it would file an application in June for an extra budget of between NT$30 billion (US$1 billion) and NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion). The current construction budget stood at NT$283.5 billion (US$9.5 billion) but the latest plans amounted to a fifth request for extra funding, reports said.
The request should be rejected and the Jiang Cabinet should order a halt to the construction of the project, Su said.
Taipower Chairman Hwang Jung-chiou said the utility needed a maximum of NT$46.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) for its 2015 budget and would install and test the fuel rods if it received permission from the government. He reportedly mentioned NT$330 billion (US$11.1 billion) as a maximum limit for the whole project.
The DPP has been vocally opposed to the fourth nuclear plant, and has lent its support to a petition for a referendum in New Taipei City to stop the installation of the rods. The plant, comprising two reactors, is located in Gongliao on the coast of the city between Taipei, Keelung and Yilan County.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has been insisting it will only allow the plant to function if its safety is guaranteed, but it has turned down opposition demands for a complete nuclear phase-out by 2025.
DPP lawmaker Cheng Li-chiun demanded Jiang present his position on the fourth nuclear plant because he had failed to do so during his past functions as vice premier and interior minister. She also demanded that the Cabinet file its proposals for a non-nuclear country to the Legislative Yuan, so its version could be merged with the DPP proposal.
The new premier and the top officials of his government team visited the Legislative Yuan Tuesday to call for a rapid review of key legislative proposals. Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said the Cabinet should increase its communication with lawmakers and with society at large, and adapt its policies in response to public opinion.
The anti-nuclear movement plans to hold mass rallies across Taiwan and in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei on March 9 to mark the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan. Opposition to nuclear energy gained renewed impetus and the issue was expected to dominate politics during the rest of the year, reports said.