TAIPEI, April 27 The Taiwan government will halt
construction at the island's fourth nuclear power plant, an
official said on Sunday, as local opposition to atomic energy
continues to mount.
President Ma Ying-jeou met with lawmakers from his
Kuomintang Party (KMT) and reached a decision to seal off the
plant's first reactor after the completion of safety checks, KMT
spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi told reporters.
Construction of the second reactor will be halted
immediately, the spokesman added.
The move is the latest sign of pressure on Ma's
administration from opposition parties and anti-nuclear
activists, who are concerned about the safety of such facilities
in earthquake-prone regions of Taiwan following the 2011
Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Taipei
over the weekend, urging the government to abandon nuclear
On Friday, Ma refused opposition demands for an immediate
referendum on the future of Taiwan's contentious fourth nuclear
plant, but reiterated that the government would hold such a vote
before the facility starts operations.
The news triggered a 2 percent drop in Taiwan's share market
due to fears higher electricity prices could dent the
The fourth plant is located in northern New Taipei City.
Taiwan's three current nuclear power facilities would have
to serve longer if the fourth one does not start operating as
planned, the economics ministry has said.
Taiwan's first nuclear plant is set to be decommissioned
from 2018-19, while the second is set to close between 2021 and
Some 40 percent of the island's electricity is generated by
burning coal, 30 percent using natural gas and 18.4 percent by
nuclear power plants, according to the economics ministry.
Taiwan sits near the so-called ring of fire region of
seismic activity around the Pacific Ocean.
(Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Dale Hudson)