Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 1 News List

No timetable for starting nuclear reactor: premier

Staff Writer, with CNA

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said there is no timetable for the reactivation of the No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) after it automatically shut down late last month.

Speaking in Hualien County, Lai said that safety will not be sacrificed in a rush to meet electricity demand.

A review must be conducted by the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Commission based on the highest safety standards before a restart can be authorized, he said.

“The government will never sacrifice the well-being of its citizens for economic development,” Lai said.

The reactor automatically shut down on March 28 just one day after it was restarted following the completion of an overhaul that had begun in May 2016.

The shutdown was believed to have been caused by a steam pressure overload, which triggered the reactor’s safety mechanism and shut the reactor down, according to an initial inspection by state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電), which operates the power plant.

Lai also responded to criticism that the government would create more air pollution by increasing the use of coal-fired power plants in pursuit of its policy of achieving a nuclear-free homeland by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Administration on March 14 approved a request by Taipower to open the new Shenao Power Plant in the city’s Rueifang District (瑞芳) with two 600 megawatt coal-burning generators, provoking a public outcry.

Lai said the decision to open the Shenao plant, also in New Taipei City, was made to prevent power shortages in northern Taiwan.

As the oil-fired Hsieh-ho Power Plant in Keelung and two nuclear power plants in New Taipei City are scheduled to be decommissioned by 2024, northern Taiwan risks facing an electricity shortage of 6 percent, Lai said.

The Shenao plant is too small to be converted into a gas-fired plant, Lai said, adding that the government had no choice but to open the plant to avoid potential power shortages in the years to come.

Lai said the plant would adopt ultra-supercritical technologies that are capable of generating energy more efficiently with lower carbon emissions.

It would also use coal with the fewest impurities and install pollution control and mitigation systems, Lai said, adding that it could be equipped with two sets of such systems if needed.

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