Taiwan’s legislators threw bottled water and exchanged punches on Friday during a debate on whether to hold a referendum on a nuclear power plant.

The plant in question has been in construction for over 10 years, and would be the island’s fourth, but it has faced opposition from within and outside parliament.

Hundreds of anti-nuclear activists gathered outside while the parliament was in session.

According to the state-run Taiwan Power Company, the plant is nearly complete and could begin commercial operation in 2016.

If the proposal for a referendum is approved by parliament, the poll would have to be held within six months, and have a turnout of over 50 per cent to be valid.

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