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Congratulations! Pro-Nuclear Activists Win Landslide Electoral Victory In Taiwan

In a surprise victory, Taiwanese voters on Saturday decisively rejected the government’s phase-out of nuclear power, 59% to 41%.

Pro-nuclear activists in Taiwan shouted and shed tears of joy at around 10:15 pm Taiwan time (9:15 am Eastern time) after it became clear that they had won the required five million votes to pass a referendum ending the phase-out.

“We will immediately ask the government to start-up non-operating reactors and extend the lives of the others,” said Shih-Hsiu Huang, a “Go Green With Nuclear” referendum organizer.

As of this writing, 5,894,570 votes were cast in favor of repealing the nuclear phase-out, and 4,013,621 votes against the initiative.

“If the government doesn’t do the right thing, we will put another pro-nuclear referendum on the ballot in 2020,” said Huang, a physicist and co-founder of Nuclear Mythbusters.

Pro-nuclear activists getting out the vote in the run-up to the election — MICHAEL SHELLENBERGER

A Trend Survey Research poll commissioned by pro-nuclear activists before the vote found that one of the strongest arguments for nuclear was, “Solar and wind are not stable, and are expensive,” attracting 71% agreement.

Pro-nuclear advocacy — which constantly reminded voters of the black-out — may have contributed to voter rejections of candidates aligned with Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, announced in a speech on Saturday that she would step down as leader of the Party after its “disappointing performance.”

Pollsters said the vote would make it easier for pro-nuclear politicians in Taiwan to be more open in their advocacy.

A former premier, Simon Chang, told me that nuclear waste remains a top concern for the Taiwanese people. Chang, who is moderately pro-nuclear, is widely-viewed as a strong presidential candidate for the elections in January, 2020.

Grassroots organizing appears to have played a significantly role in the victory. The Trend poll found 52% of voters supported the referendum — eight percent less than the final vote.

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