Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Taipower seeking to restart reactor

STRONG SUPPLY:A Cabinet spokesman rejected reports that the restart was to ease supply worries, saying that the operating margin has remained above 6% this winter

Staff writer, with CNA

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday said it would file an application with the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) to restart the second reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) by the end of the day.

Repair work on the No. 2 reactor at the plant was completed in December last year, Taipower spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華) said.

If the reactor is allowed to restart, the plant would add about 985,000 kilowatts to the electricity supply, boosting by 3 percent Taipower’s operating power reserve margin — the percentage of capacity available to the power grid that can be quickly called upon, Hsu said.

The reactor’s reactivation would help Taipower achieve the Cabinet’s goal of increasing the operating reserve margin to 6.8 percent this year, he added.

Due to requests by several government agencies to lower carbon emissions as air quality deteriorates nationwide, Taipower has cut coal consumption at the Taichung Power Plant by 20 percent, while coal use has also been reduced at a plant in Kaohsiung.

In addition, the operation of two generators at Formosa Plastics Group’s (台塑集團) coal-fired power station in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) has also been suspended over air pollution concerns.

Requests for lower carbon emissions are expected to reduce the nation’s power supply by 6.1 billion kilowatt-hours, Taipower said.

The reactor had since the middle of 2016 been under repair due to a short circuit caused by problematic lightning conductors, the AEC said, adding that it needs at least one month to process Taipower’s application to restart the reactor and hold a hearing in the Legislative Yuan, which is to ultimately decide the matter.

The reactor is licensed to operate until 2023, and the reactivation request would be submitted following standard procedures, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

He disputed media reports alleging that the reactivation was to ease power supply constraints, saying that the supply is stable in winter.

The operating reserve has remained above 6 percent this winter and has even risen as high as 9 percent, Hsu Kuo-yung said.

While it is preferable to keep the operating reserve above 10 percent, Taipower has scheduled maintenance for a number of power plants in winter so they could become operational in summer when power demand peaks, he said.

“The nuclear-free homeland policy is in no way modified. The plan to phase out nuclear power by 2025 remains unchanged and all three active nuclear power plants will be decommissioned by 2025,” he said. “The idea that the nuclear-free policy is compromised is a misinterpretation.”

Additional reporting by Chen Wei-han

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