Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Coalition files complaint over reactor reactivation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Members of an alliance of anti-nuclear groups in Taipei yesterday announce a demonstration against nuclear power that is planned for March 11.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Environmental groups yesterday filed a legal complaint against Premier William Lai (賴清德) with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office in a bid to prevent a reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) being restarted.

The move followed an announcement on Monday by Taiwan Power Co (Taipower 台電) that it had submitted a request to the Atomic Energy Council to reactivate the plant’s second reactor.

Lai, as head of the body responsible for the council and state utilities, would put society in danger if the application is approved, the coalition led by the Green Consumers’ Foundation (GSF) and the Taiwan Environmental Radiation Survey (TERS) said.

In the complaint, the groups cited Article 187-2 of the Criminal Code, which states: “A person who endangers public safety by releasing nuclear energy or radioactivity ... shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than five years.”

As a cold wave has been bearing down on the nation, heaters and household appliances have pushed up electricity consumption and at about 6pm on Monday evening set a record February high of 29.05 million kilowatt, which left the reserve margin at 5.08 percent, Chinese-language media reported.

If the application is approved, the reactor would operate at full capacity generating 985 megawatt, boosting Taipower’s operating power reserve margin by 3 percent, Taipower officials said, adding that it would also help achieve the Cabinet’s goal of increasing the reserve margin to 6.8 percent this year.

However, TERS convener Lin Jui-chu (林瑞珠) disagreed with the utility’s figures, saying: “Our power supply is not lacking. The main issue is with Taipower’s insufficient management of the power supply.”

“Premier Lai should not listen to reports from Taipower officials, who always use energy deficiency as an excuse to reactivate nuclear plants,” Lin said, adding that if the restart goes ahead, it would mean the government’s goal of a “non-nuclear homeland” is only empty talk.

“The aging facilities at the plant’s second nuclear reactor have corrosion, impaired electrical circuit and other problems. There are too many factors and risks to restart its operation,” Lin added. “We suggest immediately and permanently shutting the reactor down.”

“Taiwan has been experiencing more frequent earthquakes. This is a warning from above. It is fine that only the first reactor is operating at the Guosheng plant, but if the second reactor also goes into operation, the risks are too great,” GSF chairman Jay Fang (方儉) said.

“We also have to consider that the second reactor has more than 9,000 fuel rods in its storage pool. If there is a disaster, there will be grave consequences,” he added.

“Premier Lai must not approve the reactivation plan, as Taipower has been releasing fake news that the nation is experiencing an energy shortage,” Fang said. “Lai should not make decisions based on misleading information as provided by Taipower.”

Meanwhile, Lai reaffirmed the administration’s goal of phasing out nuclear power.

“Whether or not the reactor is restarted, President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) goal to phase out nuclear power by 2025 has not changed,” Lai said.

According to amendments to the Electricity Act (電業法) on Jan. 26, the nation’s three active nuclear power plants must be decommissioned according to a predetermined schedule, Lai said, adding that extending their service life is out of the question.

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