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Taiwan: Resistance against pro-nuke decision

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(November 13, 1996) The Taiwanese Parliament voted on October 18 to restore funding for the country's fourth nuclear power plant which had been set aside after the financing was cancelled in May. The 76-to-42 decision of the parliament was appealed by the government in June, and now the vote was 83-to-0 in favor of the plant. (see WISE NC 453.4488and 459.4552)

(461.4571) WISE Amsterdam - The parliamentary debate on the subject had been set for October 15, but opposition lawmakers and anti-nuclear activists blocked the building and kept Premier Lien Chang from entering it.

On October 16, General Electric, which had won the bidding for the U.S.$1.8-billion contract for delivery of reactors and generators, announced that it would seek compensation if the construction would be delayed any longer. "General Electric has given Taiwan Power a written notice stating its decision not to extend the deadline," Taipower vice president Lin Chin-chi said then. "This means GE would be able to seek compensation if parliament does not agree to support the project by midnight tonight."

The Friday decision came along with an eruption of violence both inside and outside the parliament. Opposition lawmakers claimed they were not given the possibility to vote and only the ballots of the Nationalist Party deputies were collected. Those had kept them -- sometimes using their fists -- from the parliament's dais, a claim that is clearly confirmed by the result of the vote: 83 to 0.

As the news reached the streets, outraged activists threw gasoline bombs, fireworks and rocks at the parliament. They broke through the razor-wire barricades around the building and lighted small fires, and were driven back by about 4,000 helmeted riot policemen backed up by powerful water cannons. There were also a lot of other demonstrations and actions. A police jeep was firebombed and eggs were thrown at the police, but most of the demonstrations were peaceful. In any case, it was the harshest outbreak of violence on the island since it ended four decades of authoritarian rule in 1987.

"We don't feel the joy of victory," the Nationalist Party deputy Tseng Yung-chuan said; other officials were said to be "delighted". The Democratic Progressive Party said it would not give in. It viewed the decision as a temporary setback. Detailed plans are being made to proceed with the construction. The building of the main parts of the reactors is being undertaken in Japan by Hitachi and Toshiba. These are to be shipped to Taiwan. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries won the tender for the turbines. The estimated contract price is around U.S.$120 million. The reactors (two advanced boiling water reactors of 1350-MW each) are expected to cost about U.S.$4.1 billion.


  • Reuter 16, 18, 21 October 1996
  • Magpie Country Nukes Headlines (Japan) #961030, 29 October 1996

Contact: KFEM, Seoul, Korea, fax: 822-730-1240