Fri, Jun 20, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Fourth Nuclear Power Plant prepares for arrival of first reactor from Japan

ELECTRICITY Residents near the construction site expressed their concerns that the reactor was not safe and asked for the right to `live free from fear'

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER IN KUNGLIAO

Around 200 residents of Kungliao township in Taipei County stage a demonstration near the site of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant yesterday to demand a halt to the arrival of a reactor from Japan.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) will unload a reactor pressure vessel from a wharf in Kungliao, Taipei County, this morning, spending the rest of the day moving the vessel to the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant's construction site.

Yesterday, Taipower's original plan to transfer the reactor pressure vessel from Keelung Harbor to the wharf in Kungliao was cancelled due to turbulent waves caused by unstable weather.

Taipower officials said yesterday that the Dutch ship Happy Buccaneer, which carries the reactor and related equipment, would arrive in Kungliao today, weather permitting.

The ship departed from the port of Kure, a military port in Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture, last Friday and arrived in Keelung Harbor on Sunday.

The reactor pressure vessel for Unit One, weighing 1,007 tonnes, was completed in 2001 by Babcock-Hitachi K.K. (BHK), a subcontractor of GE, which signed contracts with Taipower.

Local residents and anti-nuclear activists see the first transportation of a nuclear reactor from Japan to Taiwan as a deal with no guarantees.

Activists said that the reactor, an advanced boiling-water reactor(ABWR), was used by a nuclear power plant in Kashiwazaki, Japan, where several nuclear accidents have occurred.

To protest against the transportation, 200 residents from Kungliao and neighboring Shuanghsi township yesterday gathered in front of the controversial plant, saying that Taiwan should refuse to take the defective product.

Shouting slogans such as "bad quality" and "refund it," residents accused the government of importing the reactor at the risk of people's lives.

"We residents should be entitled to live free from fear," Wu Wen-tung (吳文通), spokesman for the Kungliao-based Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association.

Activists displayed a list of nuclear accidents involving ABWR, saying that Taipower should not keep lying by saying that the reactor to be installed is the most advanced in the world.

DPP Legislator Eugene Jao (趙永清) said that the effects of operating the reactor were unknown because Taipower intended to run it using new control methods.

Taipower officials said that residents are overly anxious.

"We will examine the reactor and related equipment carefully and test its operations for at least six months," said Lin Yuan-te (林源得), Taipower's deputy manager for the Lungmen Construction Office in Kungliao.

Today, two derrick cranes will move the heavy reactor and its related equipment to a trailer with 360 wheels on the pier.

The process of moving the trailer to the plant will take operators about 40 minutes.

Today, a fleet sent by the Coast Guard Administration and police officers will work to prevent any difficulties during the process of transporting the reactor, which costs NT$ 1.2 billion.

According to Taipower, the reactor, which had been stored in Japan for two years, will be placed in a warehouse temporarily.

The reactor will not be installed until the completion of engineering of the reactor's pedestal is completed in the middle of next year.

"The arrival of the reactor makes it possible for us to launch the plant's commercial operation in July 2006," Lin said.

Lin said about 47 percent of the plant project had been completed.

Kungliao Township Chief Chen Shih-nan (陳世男) said that residents support the government's resolution to turn Taiwan into a nuclear-free nation.

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