The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday urged the public to remain patient while waiting for the outcome of its ongoing security checks at the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮).
The ministry’s call came after it was criticized on Wednesday by Lin Tsung-yao (林宗堯), a former engineer at General Electric Co who now serves as a consultant overseeing Taipower’s construction process at the plant for the government.
In his statement, titled “The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant hardly meets safety standards,” Lin criticized the ministry for incompetence in solving problems surrounding the plant, because it only reports Taipower’s official reports to the Executive Yuan, but lacks the ability to understand and solve any problem uncovered.
In addition, Lin said that the Executive Yuan’s Atomic Energy Council (AEC) is incapable of comprehensively supervising construction of the nuclear power plant, adding that the construction cannot finish as scheduled and that there is no guarantee for the power plant’s safety and quality.
“The nuclear power plant can only be decommissioned if it cannot pass trial tests,” the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times sister newspaper) quoted Lin as saying in a report.
In a statement posted on its Web site, the ministry said it would review the security checks it has conducted. It said it would also take into account professional analyses by Robert Tsai (蔡維綱), a former employee at US-based electricity and natural gas supplier Exelon Corp, when making improvements.
“The government will fulfill its duty, ensuring that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will not be allowed to function unless security checks prove its safety,” the ministry said.
“Even if a referendum accepts Taipower’s proposal to continue construction of the nuclear power plant, the ministry will never approve Taipower’s application to put in fuel rods to operate the power plant if it fails to pass security checks,” it added.
In response to Lin’s criticism that the Executive Yuan incorrectly holds the ministry responsible for the budget and construction supervision of the nuclear power plant while assigning the AEC to secure its safety, the ministry said that the AEC acts as a supervisor to approve Taipower’s construction work in different phases, or to not approve the work.