The Atomic Energy Council yesterday approved Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) application to restart a nuclear reactor, despite strong opposition from environmentalists.
The state-run utility on Feb. 5 filed an application with the council to restart the No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里).
The reactor’s operational license is valid from March 15, 1983, to March 14, 2023, and, if restarted, it is expected to generate 985 megawatts of electricity.
Many environmentalists have objected to the plan, saying it is dangerous to restart an old nuclear reactor that was damaged soon after it was restarted on May 16, 2016.
Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) and other civic groups yesterday morning filed a lawsuit with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office against Taipower, council and Ministry of Economic Affairs officials, saying their attempt to restart the reactor has endangered public safety and therefore violates Article 187-2 of the Criminal Code.
According to Article 24 of the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act (核子反應器設施管制法), a nuclear reactor that has lain dormant for more than a year without the council’s approval would be considered a permanent cessation of its operations and should be decommissioned, Fang said.
The council in the afternoon announced its approval of the utility’s application, adding that its review is available to the public on its Web site.
While the reactor has been mothballed for more than 600 days, unlike the scenario described in the article, the council has monitored Taipower’s maintenance of the reactor, Department of Nuclear Regulation Deputy Director-General Li Chi-ssu (李綺思) said.
The council respects the groups’ views, but would continue doing its part to ensure nuclear safety according to the law, he said, adding that the council would respect the Legislative Yuan’s final decision on whether to restart the reactor.
Although the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy is stipulated in Article 95 of the Electricity Act (電業法), there are still varied opinions about whether the nation should phase out nuclear power.
Chung-Hwa Nuclear Society member Lee Min (李敏) last month invited proponents of nuclear energy to join a referendum petition on scrapping Article 95 and supporting “green” energy development with nuclear power.
Although he only released the petition on Friday last week, about 1,700 people have expressed their support for the proposal, Lee said.
Meanwhile, opponents of nuclear power are on Sunday to stage their annual parade on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei, where groups are to exhibit their achievements in promoting “green” energy generation.
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