Environmentalists say “no” to nuclear and offshoring

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  • By Jonathan Chin / Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday, an environmental group urged people to vote ‘no’ on two of the questions in Saturday’s referendums: restarting construction of the fourth nuclear power plant in Gongliao district of New Taipei (貢 寮) and relocate a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. to protect the seaweed reefs off the Guanyin District in Taoyuan (觀音).

In a press release, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union said supporters of the nuclear power plant made many false claims, which the Executive Yuan did not completely debunk in the referendum ballot released. by the Central Election Commission to explain the two sides of the referendum questions. .

The Executive Yuan cited difficulties in nuclear waste disposal, incomplete operational testing of the plant, seismic safety issues, and technical issues that would take more than seven years to overcome, among others, as reasons for the government opposition to the referendum.

Photo: Huang Ming-tang, Taipei Times

The group said it should have gone further, claiming that Taiwan shipped the last of its fuel rods in March, that the building permit for the fourth nuclear power plant expired last year, and that one of the two The nuclear reactors planned for the plant had not passed operational tests and remains incomplete.

Nuclear power is not safe, with 16 people killed and 71 injured in crashes involving nuclear power since 1978, when the country activated its first nuclear power plant, the group said, adding that seven of the deaths have occurred. on the grounds of the fourth nuclear power plant. Plant.

Nuclear power is not clean because nuclear power plants create nuclear waste that would remain radioactive for hundreds or even thousands of years, he said.

A normally functioning nuclear power plant still produces harmful radionuclides which are released into the air and water, he added.

Heated water released from cooling systems at nuclear power plants has been linked to cases of coral bleaching, he said.

The fourth nuclear power plant is built over several fault lines and its design is not safe enough to handle a powerful earthquake, he said.

The construction of the factory, which is overwhelmingly opposed by local residents, would negatively affect the future of Gongliao’s tourism and fishing industries, he added.

The fourth nuclear power plant is prohibitively expensive and has already cost taxpayers NT $ 283.8 billion ($ 10.21 at the current exchange rate), the group said.

In another press release, the group said people should also oppose the proposal to relocate the proposed LNG terminal.

Public discourse on the project has become confused by the many changes made over the years, the difficulty of a highly technical subject, and the political rhetoric of supporters of the referendum, he added.

The project, which involves erecting the breakwater 1.2 km from the shore and using an elevated pipeline, is technically viable and minimizes damage to the algae reefs, he said.

Conservation efforts should be aimed at preserving Datan Algae Reefs as a large integrated habitat for the long term, rather than protecting part of the whole in the immediate future, he said, adding that the government had done a good job so far.

Reefs should also be understood as possessing a certain level of resilience and ability to regenerate, which has ensured their survival against disruptive environmental changes in the past, the group said.

Discussions should take into account the environmental impact of the project, the feasibility of alternatives and the economic effects, including the country’s problems with electricity supply, grid balancing and the need to transform its energy structure, a he declared.

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