Over 1,000 rally against nuclear energy in Taiwan

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Taipei, March 12 (IANS) Over 1,000 Taiwanese people rallied in capital Taipei on Saturday against nuclear energy, calling on the government to shut down three operating nuclear plants and halt the ongoing construction of a fourth.

The protest, which started in front of the Presidential Office, ended with a march to the Legislative Yuan complex, Efe news reported.

“People fear the risks of nuclear power, and worry that what happened in Fukushima will also happen in Taiwan,” said one observer.

The Taiwan Power Company, a state-owned company that operates the three power plants, has proposed to reprocess nuclear waste overseas, a plan that has been condemned by both politicians and environmental groups as a move to extend the life span of the plant operations, scheduled to expire in 2023.

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The newly elected president, Ing-wen Tsai, said during her political campaign last year that she envisions a “nuclear-free homeland” by 2023.

The Democratic Progress Party leader also earlier this month promoted hydrogen energy as a means to phase out nuclear power in the East Asian island nation, and has pledged to boost ties with Japan, which holds the majority of patents for hydrogen energy technology.

During her campaign in September last year, Tsai estimated that the government will in upcoming years allocate 1 trillion New Taiwan dollars (US $30 billion) to the renewable energy sector.

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