Taiwan, As the World Turns! Nuclear Power and more

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Monday March 04, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

A current issue in Taiwan remains the question of building a fourth nuclear power plant. With the recent disaster in Japan and the current problems with inadequate nuclear storage, this is a problem that must be dealt with in the nation. However, it raises a deeper issue with it--the question of the high bar for referendums.

The referendum's high bar is a way to disenfranchise voters by promising them a say in their destiny but making the requirements it so high that they cannot meet those standards. These two issues are coming to a head shortly; a protest is planned on Saturday March 9th as regards the nuclear plant and the will of the people, but the question of referendums remains.

What makes that question somewhat hypocritical is that when the matter for casinos in the off-shore islands is put to a vote, it is decided only by those who live there. But when it comes to other issues like where nuclear waste is to be disposed, it is not decided on by those who are in the area where it will be stored; it is decided on by all. In other words, the majority can choose to impose it on others who do not have a large voting block. There is more that will come of this matter both as regards nuclear power and referendums--both issues will not have a simple solution but awareness of the issues and how democracy must have a level playing field is at least the beginning.