The people of Taiwan will vote in a referendum to decide whether a nearly complete fourth nuclear reactor of the country on which $6 billion have been spent so far, should be made functional following growing concerns about public safety.
The Taiwanese government has admitted the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 has led to a public movement against the nuke facility nearing completion about 30 kms from Taipei.
"Following Fukushima, there have been concerns over a nuclear plant in a densely populated area. The government has decided to put the issue before the people," Taiwan's deputy minister for the council for economic planning and development, Nancy Chang said.
Chang said the government hoped to put the issue to vote "earliest by end of 2013". She said the plant being constructed by US company General Electric since 1999 is almost complete. Government will have to dismantle the plant if more than 50% people participating in referendum say "NO".
Concerns about Taiwan's nuclear power plants have been mounting since Fukushima crisis.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In September 1999 - a 7.6-magnitude quake killed around 2,400 people the deadliest natural disaster in the island's recent history.
(The reporter was in Taipei on the invitation of Taiwan government)