Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), the nation’s biggest electricity producer and monopoly grid operator, is considering adding as many as 10 reactors to existing nuclear power plants to reduce its reliance on coal and gas.
The utility’s grid has the capacity to accommodate two additional reactors at its No. 2 nuclear power station, company vice president Hsu Hwai-chiung (徐懷瓊) said in an interview yesterday, without giving a timeline. The company’s No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear plants also have space for new units, he said.
Taiwan has three nuclear stations in operation and one under construction. Without adding reactors, Taipower would need to build new coal-fired or natural gas-fueled power plants to meet rising demand for electricity, according to Hsu.
“We’re conducting an internal study,” Hsu said. “We have yet to report to the government, which needs to conduct an assessment and dialogue with the public is also needed.”
Atomic reactors accounted for 13 percent of Taiwan’s electricity generation capacity in June, compared with at 29 percent from coal-fired generators and 37 percent from gas units, according to the company’s Web site.
Taipower has postponed four times the start of the No. 4 plant, located 40km east of Taipei, because of safety concerns and an increase in construction costs. The plant has two units with a planned capacity of 2,700 megawatts, accounting for 6 percent of Taiwan’s installed capacity when completed. Taipower is scheduled to load fuel into the first unit in February next year and start commercial operation late next year, Hsu said.