3145 EditionJune 4-10, 2012
Churches join masses in telling President Ma, “I’m a man! I'm anti-nuclear!”
Reported by Lin Yi-ying, Chen Yi-hsuan
Written by Lydia Ma
During an inspection of Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 (NPP2) in March of this year, it was discovered that 7 anchor bolts of NPP2’s nuclear reactor were broken, resulting in more than NT$100 million worth of replacement costs. The public was further alarmed recently when an engineer divulged that, a total of 36 anchor bolts had problems. In response to public outcry regarding Taiwan’s nuclear policies, President Ma Ying-jeou was quoted on May 19, 2012 saying, “no man is opposed to Taiwan’s nuclear energy policies.”
Ma’s statement prompted anti-nuclear energy organizations to call a press conference on May 29 in front of the Presidential Office urging the government against re-opening Nuclear Power Plant No.2, and a flash mob protest led by renowned theater director Ke Yi-cheng in front of the Presidential Office one day earlier. Ke Yi-cheng and protesters laid themselves down on the pavement of Ketagalan Boulevard, their bodies forming the Chinese character “man” for 30 seconds, shouted: “I’m a man, I’m anti-nuclear!” several times, and dispersed rapidly afterward.
The engineer who said that there were actually 36 problematic anchor bolts at NPP2 was Wang Wei-ming, a member of Chi-Nan Presbyterian Church in Taipei. Wang cited wear and tear as the cause of broken anchor bolts. However, he also revealed that during a routine ultrasound inspection conducted by Taiwan Power Corporation on May 3, it was very evident that the sensitivity level of the testing equipment had also been reduced from the usual 80% to 21%. After conferring with experts at the National Taiwan University’s Institute of Applied Mechanics on what these numbers meant, he concluded that of the 113 bolts claimed to be normal by Taiwan Power, at least 29 of them were defective. He went on to back up his claim using a diagram and also underscored that these bolts must be replaced if NPP2 is to resume operations.
“Taiwan Power has finally admitted that of the 113 bolts in use now, a few have cracks, and yet it wants to convince us that these cracks won’t cause problems and therefore, these defective bolts can be overlooked. Do you believe Taiwan Power’s words and assurances? If NPP2 resumes operations, do you think you can sleep soundly at night?” said DPP legislator Tien Chiu-chin, who is also a Christian. She added that properly maintained anchor bolts should not have cracks and wondered aloud why they were found otherwise. She also asked whether it would follow that, since these bolts had fissures, therefore, the nuclear reactor inside also had fissures.
PCT Church and Society Committee Secretary Huang Che-yen recounted his experience revisiting residents living in Fukushima in March of this year and underscored a prevailing sense of terror and helplessness among residents though it has a year since the nuclear meltdown. He pointed out frankly that President Ma was an insensitive President totally numb to the sufferings of the people. “It’s incredible that a leader of a country can unabashedly proclaim that no one opposes pro-nuclear energy policies. Because of such a statement, the people have chosen to gather in front of the Presidential Palace and shout, ‘I am a man! I oppose nuclear energy!’”. Huang hopes that Ma will heed the voice of the people instead of hiding inside the Presidential Palace.
In related news, PCT recently marked its Environmental Awareness Sunday, which falls on the first Sunday of June. To promote a nuclear-free country and raise awareness on the perils of nuclear energy, Tainan Presbytery pastors used this day to exchange pulpits and speak on the reasons for opposing nuclear energy. Pastors urged their listeners to heed the dangers of nuclear energy and nuclear wastes and also gave some advice on how to conserve energy and reduce wasteful use of resources in everyday life so as to be good stewards of God’s creation.