Nearly half do not support scrapping nuclear plant: poll

The China Post staff and Agencies

Nearly half of the public do not support the Cabinet’s decision to scrap the fourth nuclear power plant, according to a poll unveiled by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday. Only 33.2 percent of the public support the decision while 47.5 percent said they do not agree with the choice, according to the poll conducted by the DPP between Oct. 27 and 28, with 1,189 effective samples collected. Although the number of those who support the Cabinet’s decision is smaller than the number of those who are against it, DPP official Chen Chun-lin stressed that those who support the scrapping of the project have been increasing. The DPP conducted a similar survey in early October which showed that over 54 percent said they were opposed to the halting of construction on the nuclear power plant, while 27.9 percent said that they were in favor of scrapping the project. The poll also found that only 62.2 percent of respondents who tend to support the DPP said they agree with the Cabinet’s decision, while 23.4 percent said they are against it. Nearly half of the respondents said they had no confidence in state-owned Taiwan Power Co.’s ability to handle a nuclear emergency and dispose of nuclear waste. On the question of the nuclear power plant’s location, 55.1 percent of those surveyed said they would be opposed to the site being located in their city or county. And 77.1 percent of the respondents agreed that the construction of a nuclear plant must have the consent of the local people. If given the assurances of a feasible alternative energy policy and that the island would not encounter power failure problems, some 58.4 percent said they would agree to scrap the plant while 29.9 still insist on the nuclear policy. DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen said the poll figures reflected the Taiwan public’s conflicting attitude. He pointed specifically to the fact that 47.5 percent of respondents said they are opposed to scrapping the nuclear plant project, while nearly half said they have no confidence in Taipower’s ability to handle nuclear emergencies or safely dispose of nuclear waste. Some 56.1 percent of those surveyed also said the opposition parties should not threaten to boycott the review of the general budget submitted by the Cabinet over the issue. Some 51.1 percent of the respondents also said all parties should cast away their ideology differences in order to ensure the political and economic stability of the island. Wu said that this showed that over half of the people would not like to see the political turmoil to continue. He went on to say that it is not the right time for the opposition parties to make use of the issue and fight for political power.