TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's premier says the government will support holding a public referendum to resolve the prolonged controversy over the fate of the island's $10 billion nuclear power plant.

Jiang Yi-huah said Tuesday a referendum could resolve the 20-year-old debate about the power plant, which is nearly complete and slated to begin operation in 2015.

Jiang warns that opponents should be aware of the economic losses for scrapping the project while the government will ensure the plant's safety if a yes vote is secured.

Responding to rising anti-nuclear sentiment, the Taiwan government abruptly suspended the nuclear project in 2000 only to resume its construction shortly afterward as concerns about power shortage sent share prices plunging.

Officials say the vote could take place in July with lawmakers' endorsement.

 

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