Taiwan Protests Grow To 50,000, Govt. Halts Nuclear Plant Construction

Protests in Taiwan grew and continued on over the weekend. They have had some impact as the government at least for now has caved to protesters demands. The protesters want a referendum on nuclear power and a stop to construction of the fourth nuclear power plant on the edge of Taipei. A member of the opposition political party has been on a hunger strike over the issue. The combination of over 5 days of wide scale protests and the hunger strike appear to have been enough to get the government to capitulate. A recent survey found 60% want Taiwan to end their use of nuclear power. 67.9% do not trust the country’s ability to deal with nuclear waste.

This may not be a completely done deal. Those in the know have pointed out that the government could find ways to back track on their promise and have done so before. For now construction of the fourth plant is halted and the referendum is at least promised. Opposition politicians call it stalling and want more solid actions taken.  Adding to what has been a crazy week, one KMT legislator tried to claim Fukushima was caused by Japan being “stupid” and that the massive disaster would have been solved if they poured water on the reactors. Taipower, the taxpayer funded company that operates the nuclear power plants claimed not finishing the fourth nuclear plant would throw them into bankruptcy. Taipower has spent a mindboggling $93.7 billion USD so far on the two reactors at the fourth nuclear plant.

Yesterday’s massive action in Taipei included an estimated 50,000 people. A main intersection in town was blocked. Riot police attempted to run the protesters out with water cannons but later themselves left the area and let the protest continue.

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The protests included a massive nuclear “die-in” in the busy downtown intersection.

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Even after the Monday announcement that a referendum would happen and construction stopped the protesters say they will continue their protests.

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