FAPA Statement On The Nuclear Four Debate In Taiwan

For more than two decades, a heated debate has been raging on and off in Taiwan about the desirability of a Fourth Nuclear Power Plant at Kungliao, only 26 miles from Taipei.  Plans were made as early as the 1980s, funds were allocated in the early 1990s, and actual construction was started in 1999.

TaiPower, the state-owned enterprise responsible for construction and operation of the plant did not follow the normal “turnkey” procedure, but managed the construction itself, and contracted General Electric of the United States to build the reactors, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan to supply the turbines and generators, while many local companies received lucrative subcontracts.  This led to major delays and cost-overruns: similar power plants in other countries generally take 4 years to build.  Nuclear Four is now in its 15th year of construction.

However, since the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan, opposition against the completion of the power plant has significantly increased.  The major reasons are that the Kungliao plant is of similar design as the Fukushima reactors, is also located on a seismic fault line, and is close to the sea, where it would be subject to being struck by a tsunami.  In addition, the fact that the plant is only 26 miles from Taipei means that in case of a disaster, a major metropolitan area of nearly seven million people would have to be evacuated, a sheer impossible task.

During the past years, there have been numerous efforts through the regular political system to stop construction of the plant and to decide that it should not go into operation.  These efforts included introduction of a referendum.  Under normal circumstances such a referendum would easily pass, as opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority opposes Nuclear Four.

However, Taiwan has an archaic referendum law, which stipulates that a referendum only passes if more than 50% of the eligible voters express themselves in favor of such a referendum.  This threshold is unreasonably high and in practical terms impossible to reach. Not a single referendum in the United States would pass if these rules were applied.

What has now added urgency to the discussion is that on Tuesday April 22nd 2014, veteran Taiwan democracy leader Lin Yi-hsiung, who served as DPP party chairman between 1998 and 2000, went on an indefinite hunger strike at his former home, now a Presbyterian Church, where on February 28th 1980 his mother and twin-daughters were knifed to death in what was widely believed to be a political murder.  The case was never resolved.  Lin has vowed to fast to the end if the government does not agree to halting construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

FAPA believes

1. That an immediate moratorium on the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is called for;

2. That the Ma Ying-jeou Administration  needs to agree to a fair and equitable referendum at the earliest possible time so the people in Taiwan can decide whether they want the plant to go into operation or not, and

3. That the existing clause in the Referendum Act, which requires 50% of the eligible voters to express themselves in favor, needs to be dropped immediately.

As concerned Taiwanese-Americans we care deeply about Taiwan and its future as a free and democratic nation.  We express our strong support for Mr. Lin Yi-hsiung and his goals, and urge the Taiwan government of President Ma Ying-jeou to respond in accordance with the principles of true democracy.

台灣人公共事務會對台灣核四議題之聲明稿

位於貢寮的第四個核能發電廠(核四),是否該繼續興建的議題已經在台灣被熱烈的討論長達20年之久。而貢寮位在離台北約41公里處。核四計畫早在1980年代便開始,預算則在1990年代早期就已編列,然後1999年正式開始建造。

負責核四之施工及運作的國營企業,台灣電力公司(台電),沒有依循正常的總承包契約模式進行,反而自行規劃施工流程,除了承包給美國的奇異公司來製造核能發電廠的反應爐之外,把渦輪機和發電機委外給日本的三菱重工業,同時許多台灣在地的公司也獲得了利潤豐厚的分包契約。這個分包的模式造成了核四工程的嚴重停滯與成本超支,在其他國家的核能發電廠通常只需要4年來建造,但是核四卻只是進入第15年的施工。

然而,自從20113月,日本發生了空前的福島第一核電廠輻射大量外露的事件,對於是否完成核四興建的這個政策,台灣內部的反對聲浪顯著的增加。最主要的原因是,貢寮的核電廠採用類 似於福島核能反應爐的設計,並且核四也將落址於靠近海邊的地震斷層線上。那樣的地理位置,有可能會使得核電廠受到海嘯的破壞。此外,核四距離台北只有41公里的這個事實,意味了一旦有什麼天災發生,在一個擁有將近七百萬人口的大都會,必須要能夠緊急撤離所有居民,根本純粹是個不可能的任務。

在過去的幾年,有許多人努力想透過正常的政治程序,試著停止核四的建造,以及決定核四不應該進行運作,而當中也包含了公民投票的引用。在正常的情況下,這樣的公民投票應該是會輕鬆地通過,因為民意調查顯示了反對核四的人佔壓倒性的多數。

然而,台灣的公民投票法已經過時了,該法規定,只有當百分之五十以上有選舉投票權的人投票贊成,才可通過。這是個非常不合理的高門檻,並且實際上不可能達成。如果這個規定用在美國,沒有一個公投案會通過。

而如今,關乎這個議題的討論,因為林義雄在422日星期二開始了無限期的絕食運動,更增加了急迫性。這位受到台灣人敬仰的,且長期為台灣民主化運動盡心盡力,曾擔任19982000年的民進黨黨主席的 林義雄,他絕食的地點位於長老教會,該教會是由他的舊宅改建,也正是他的母親和他的一對雙胞胎女兒,於1980228日遭到謀殺而命喪黃泉的地方。這關乎三條人命且被視為政治謀殺的命案,至今未破案。如果政府不同意停止核四的施工,林義雄發誓要絕食到底。

台灣人公共事務會主張

1. 呼籲核四發電廠立即暫停施工

2. 馬英九政府需要儘快地同意去採取一個公平且公正的公民投票,這樣台灣人民可以決定是否希望發電廠進行作業。

3. 目前公民投票法的第30條條文,規定百分之五十以上有選舉投票權的人投票贊成,才可通過,應當被即刻移除。

我們台美人深切地關心台灣人民的自由,以及台灣作為一個民主國家的未來。我們向 林義雄,與他正在奮鬥目標,表達我們台美人對其堅定的支持。我們也向馬英九總統敦促,政府應當依循民主原則對 林義雄和社會大眾做出回應。

(April 25, 2014) FAPA Statement On The Nuclear Four Debate In Taiwan / 台灣人公共事務會對台灣核四議題之聲明稿