Tue, Apr 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

AEC given Guosheng’s reactor report

STARTING OVER?The council said it would form a committee to review the report and conduct a field examination before it makes a decision on restarting the reactor

By Lin Chia-nan and Huang Pei-chun  /  Staff reporters

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday said it has received state-run Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) application to restart the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 2 reactor, which was shut down by its safety mechanism on March 28.

The plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) is equipped with two 985-megawatt reactors.

Its No. 1 reactor is one of the two currently operating nuclear reactors in the nation.

The council last month approved Taipower’s application to restart the reactor, which became operational on March 27. However, a shutdown was triggered the following day due to a problem with its steam valve.

Taipower’s initial assessment was that the shutdown might have resulted from a sensor in the reactor’s steam valve being set to be too sensitive, and yesterday it said that foreign experts had backed that finding.

Environmental groups have long opposed restarting the reactor, saying its initial shutdown on May 16, 2016, just 35 minutes after a restart, made them question Taipower’s management.

Taipower has filed a review report on the incident as required, which includes evaluations about its restart procedures, the cause of the shutdown, improvement measures, safety assessments regarding the reactor’s future restart and a simulated run of the reactor, the council said yesterday in a statement.

The council will form an expert committee to review the report and conduct a field examination, it said.

Taipower’s application would only be approved after the council ensures that the company fully explained the cause of the shutdown, it added.

Two foreign technicians who last week visited the plant to analyze the problem said that the pressure control system of the reactor’s steam valve was not set properly, causing it to trigger a protective shutdown once its operational output reached 30 percent, Taipower said yesterday.

The plant’s foreign fuel supplier on Saturday completed a simulation of the reactor’s operations and confirmed the safety of the reactor and its nuclear fuel rods, Taipower said.

Their conclusion corresponded with its own preliminary analysis, and their simulation assessment was included in the report to the council, the company said.

The nation’s operating power reserve is expected to be at “yellow” levels this week, because power reserves are at 7 percent, but are expected to drop to 5 percent in the second half of this month, it said.

That calculation does not include Guosheng’s No. 2 reactor, which could provide an additional 3 percent of power supply, the utility said, adding that it would respect the council’s decision on restarting the reactor.

Taipower uses a five-color system, with yellow the second-highest level, meaning that reserves are between 6 percent and 10 percent.

Black is the lowest level, indicating that reserves have fallen to less than 500,000 kilowatts, which would make power rationing necessary.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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