In April 2014, the Cabinet announced that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant — the Longmen plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) — would be mothballed and its No. 1 reactor sealed.
The Cabinet allocated a budget of NT$1.279 billion (US$42.3 million) to cover the costs of maintaining the idle plant and its site for the first year and provisionally allocated a three-year budget.
In July last year, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) drew up a budget of NT$1.36 billion for maintaining the plant, but the legislature voted unanimously to reduce that amount by NT$500 million and resolved that Taipower should not allocate any more funds to the site.
However, in Taipower’s proposed budget for next fiscal year, it has disregarded the legislature’s resolution by allocating NT$817 million for the maintenance and management of the plant’s assets on the grounds it might still be converted or sold.
Article 95 of the Electricity Act (電業法) states that “the nuclear energy-based power-generating facilities shall wholly stop running by 2025.”
That deadline is only seven years away, but according to Taipower’s plan for decommissioning the nation’s oldest nuclear plant — the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) — it will take about 25 years to decommission it and return the site to its original condition.
However, the Longmen plant has never had nuclear fuel installed in it and has therefore not been contaminated by radiation, making it relatively easy to convert. There is no point in commissioning it for a mere seven years’ electricity supply and then spending at least a quarter of a century for decontamination and decommissioning.
Besides, before the Longmen plant was mothballed, it had numerous incidents like fires, waterlogged equipment, bad workmanship and illegal alterations to its design, and even after it was mothballed, there was an incident involving overflowing pipes.
Considering all the malfunctions, the price to be paid if the plant is commissioned might not be just an economic problem, but a matter of health and safety; it could even constitute an existential threat to the nation.
Furthermore, 597 pieces of equipment from the plant’s No. 2 reactor have been permanently transferred to reactor No. 1, which was short of spare parts, and its fuel storage racks have been transferred to the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) to refurbish that plant’s spent fuel pool.
Given that the Longshan plant no longer has all the equipment it needs, it is doubtful whether it could be commissioned at all.
Since there is no prospect of commissioning the Longshan plant, Taipower is calling for it to be converted or sold.
A final decision on its fate should be made sooner rather than later. If buyers can be found for the equipment, it should be dismantled and sold as soon as possible to avoid spending hundreds of thousands of New Taiwan dollars year after year to manage and maintain the plant, while it keeps depreciating and gets harder to sell.
Taipower is looking into the possibility of turning the plant into another kind of power plant. Alternatively, it could be made it into an electricity museum or amusement park, as civic groups suggest, or an alternative site for building the nation’s third liquid natural gas terminal.
Whatever the decision, something has to be done about it, and it is better to move forward than to keep squandering public funds and wasting the lives of staff and workers to keep it mothballed for nothing.
Tsai Ya-ying is a lawyer affiliated with the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association.
Translated by Julian Clegg
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
South China Sea exercises in July by two United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers reminds that Taiwan’s history since mid-1950, and as a free nation, is intertwined with that of the aircraft carrier. Eventually Taiwan will host aircraft carriers, either those built under its democratic government or those imposed on its territory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). By September 1944, a lack of sufficient carrier airpower and land-based airpower persuaded US Army and Navy leaders to forgo an invasion to wrest Taiwan from Japanese control, thereby sparing Taiwanese considerable wartime destruction. But two
As Taiwan is engulfed in worries about Chinese infiltration, news reports have revealed that power inverters made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co are used in the solar panels on the top of the Legislative Yuan’s Zhenjiang House (鎮江會館) on Zhenjiang Street in Taipei. However, what is even more worrying is that Taiwan’s new national electronic identification card (eID) has been subcontracted to the French security firm and eID maker Idemia, which has not only cooperated with the Chinese Public Security Bureau to manufacture eIDs in China, but also makes the new identification cards being issued in Hong Kong. There might be more