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Taiwanese protesters rally for 'nuclear-free homeland

AFP  |  Taipei 

Hundreds gathered at an anti-nuclear rally in today to demand the government keep its pledge to abolish the use of by 2025.

Waving placards reading "nuclear go zero," and "abolish nuclear, save Taiwan," protesters rallied outside the presidential office in on the same day as marked

Protesters were worried by a recent decision by the cabinet-level Council to allow company to restart a reactor at a facility near Taipei, pending parliament's final approval.

The reactor has been offline since May 2016 after a glitch was found in its electrical system, which the company said has since been resolved.

Anti-nuclear groups are now questioning whether Tsai Ing-wen's will keep its promise to phase out

"It would be violating the spirit of creating a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 pledged by the DPP," said of the prospect of restarting the reactor. Tsui is for which organised the rally.

Lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang, of the opposition New Power Party, echoed the sentiment.

"The government should move forward, not backwards and restarting the reactor would be a regression," he told reporters at the rally.

currently generates about one-fifth of its energy from three nuclear plants.

Although concerns have grown over power supply sufficiency following massive power failures across the island in August last year, many in the island remain adamantly against

In 2014, authorities were forced to seal off a nearly-completed fourth nuclear plant after public opposition.

Some at Sunday's rally wore sunflowers on their hats to symbolise

"I would rather the government restrict the use of than relying on which is unsafe and generates a lot of waste," said 22-year-old college student

started annual anti-nuclear rallies to commemorate Japan's nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011 when the Fukushima was hit by a tsunami following an earthquake, knocking out power to its cooling systems and sending reactors into meltdown.

Taiwan, like Japan, is prone to frequent quakes as the island lies on a number of fault lines.

Last month, 17 people were killed and nearly 300 injured when a 6.4 magnitude quake hit eastern Hualien, leaving almost 2,000 buildings damaged.

"Nuclear facilities are unsafe as Taiwan has many earthquakes. The government needs to take the lead to actively develop alternative and green energy," said 40-year-old protester Fan De-lu.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 15:40 IST