A parliamentary vote in Taiwan on whether to hold a referendum on the completion of the Lungmen nuclear power plant descended into a brawl between opposing parties.
The vote, proposed by the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) party, had been scheduled today in the Legislative Yuan on whether construction of Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant, which is already nearing completion, should continue.
Some 40 lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) barricaded themselves inside the legislative chamber yesterday. They remained there overnight in an attempt to stop today's session, including the vote, taking place. The DPP is calling for the Lungmen plant to be scrapped without even holding a referendum.
The brawl broke out this morning as KMT lawmakers tried to take possession of the podium to allow the vote to proceed. Television footage showed two male legislators wrestling on the floor while groups from the opposing sides threw bottles and cups of water at each other.
The scuffle led to the session being suspended, without the vote on the referendum taking place. This will now be rescheduled.
The anti-nuclear DPP claims that it would be difficult to get at least 50% of the population to vote in a referendum with the majority voting against the plant's completion. The party said that it would do whatever it can to stop the referendum proceeding.
Construction work began on the two 1350 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at Lungmen, near Taipei, in 1999, with the first originally scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2006 and the second in 2007. However, the project has been beset with political, legal and regulatory delays. Commercial operation of the two units is not expected until at least 2015, should the project be completed.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News