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Taiwan to shut down nearly-completed nuclear plant after public protests

Published on Jul 31, 2014 4:45 PM

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's government said on Thursday it would seal off a nuclear power plant due to open next year but repeatedly attacked as unsafe by the public, pending a referendum on its future.

Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Woody Duh said maintenance fees could reach TW$4 billion ($165,920 million) to shutter the power station for three years - the estimated time required to organise and hold the referendum.

In April, the government said it would halt construction after an estimated 28,500 protesters blockaded a main street in Taipei demanding the plant be scrapped. The police used water cannon to dislodge hundreds who refused to leave the scene, in clashes that left 40 people injured.

Intense political wrangling has repeatedly delayed the project, which began in 1999 and has already cost around TW$300 billion.

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