- Posted March 11, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
"NO MORE FUKUSHIMA" shouts Taiwan
“NO MORE Fukushima,” shouts Taiwan
As the second anniversary of 3/11 Fukushima nuclear disaster was at the corner, mass demonstrations against the nation’s nuclear policy broke up island-wide in Taiwan. Over 200,000 people took part in the anti-nuclear protests in northern, central, southern and eastern Taiwan, according to the estimate of local media. Participants of the nation-wide protest initiated by over 150 civic groups came from all walks of life, including domestic celebrities, writers, artists, students, housewives, parents and young children as well as people living near nuclear power plants and nuclear waste treatment facilities.
According to local media, about 120,000 participants in Taipei took the demonstration route circling the Presidential Office, which is 28 and 23 kilometers away from the nation’s First and Second Nuclear Power Plant, respectively. About 5 millions of people live in the 30-kilometer range of these two plants, which are among the three most dangerous nuclear power plants in the world, according to Nature.
According to Kent Koh, a protestor with a master degree of nuclear engineering, Taiwan government has dismissed the appeals of domestic anti-nuclear campaigns by telling the public that nuclear energy is a technical issue and can only be addressed by professionals. “Domestic nuclear power plants have safety management problems. With a master degree of nuclear engineering, I want to tell people in Taiwan that I am against nuclear power because I know a lot about it. That’s why I am here, ” said Koh.
Irene Huang is a housewife joining the demonstration in Kaoshiung City of southern Taiwan. She came with her husband and child. “I know more and more children in Fukushima have thyroid disorder. This makes me worry for my child. In Taiwan, earthquakes happen very frequently. Should a nuclear disaster strike this small island, it will be to late to save my child,” said Huang. “I don’t know much about the theory of nuclear energy, but I know one thing; as a mother I have responsibility to protect my child from the danger of nuclear disaster,” she added.
“I started to join anti-nuclear efforts last year. This is my first time to take part in 3/11 anti-nuclear demonstration. I hope it’s my last time to be here and the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will be formally halted this year,” said CheYi Lin, an university student participant.
The safety records of 3 active nuclear power plants on this small island is a compelling reason for many people to worry about potential nuclear accidents. In 2011, anchoring bolt fracturing, an unprecedented safety incident in global nuclear power industry, first occurred in the Second Nuclear Power Plant (the bolts are designed to anchor the reactor pressure vessel to the concrete foundation). Last year, 6 of 120 anchoring bolts of another reactor in the same power plant were partially or completely fractured for unknown reason. In the same year, both the First and Third Nuclear Power Plants were temporarily shut down for technical failures; in particular, the emergency shutdown of the Third Nuclear Power Plant took place within less a week after the annual maintenance.
The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which has not kicked off operation, has had design changes of over 1500 items since the construction began in 1999. The jerry-built construction, government procurement scandals and the poor quality management have called into questions the safety of this “home-made” nuclear power plant. In response to domestic opposition to the operation of this plant, Premier Jiang Yi-huah has proposed to decide the future of this plant through a referendum. Some anti-nuclear activists, however, have seen this initiative as a cunning tactics of political manipulation. “ The Referendum Act lays down “unreasonable and strict” conditions which have made the passage of any referendums almost impossible,” said former Democratic Progressive Party (the opposition party) chairman Lin I-hsiung.
The photographers of the four photos have agreed to let CNN’s use their works.
Caption of Antinuclear Photo 1: Hundreds of thousands of people in Taipei take to the street to protest the nation’s nuclear power policy on 9 March. The participants took the route circling the Presidential Office as a symbolic gesture to voice their concern about government policies. According to the estimate of local media, as many as about 200, 000 people participated in the island-wide demonstrations, the largest anti-nuclear protest in Taiwan history. Photographer: Juan Lai
Caption of Antinuclear Photo 2: Yijiang, a 13-year old boy wearing a headscarf saying “Protect Taitung, Oppose Nuclear Waste” takes part in the anti-nuclear demonstration in Taitung City on 9, March. “I want nuclear waste to get out of my home land,” said Yijiang. The state-owned Taipower has proposed to remove nuclear waste currently stored in Orchid Island and relocate it to Taitung county. The proposal has caused angry protest of some local residents. Over 2000 people in Taitung City joined the anti-nuclear protest initiated by 47 local NGOs. Photographer: Mayao Biho
PS: Yijiang’s mother has agreed to let CNN use her son’s image.
Caption of Antinuclear Photo 3: Several Orchid Island aboriginal people in traditional costumes protest nuclear waste storage with traditional dance on 9 March. Orchid Island, home of Dawu aboriginal tribe, has been the storage site of nuclear waste for over the last 30 years. Recently the state-owned Taipower has proposed to remove the nuclear waste and relocate it to Taitung county.
Photographer: Yaoming Wang
Caption of Antinuclear Photo 4: Two anti-nuclear protestors carry a banner with hand prints of demonstration participants, which says “I love Taiwan, I want to grow up and don’t want nuclear disaster” in Taipei on 9 March. According to local media, about 120,000 people in Taipei took to the street for anti-nuclear protest on 9 March.
Photographer: Andrew Huang