Sat, May 10, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Taipower wants to import a nuclear reactor in June


The once-suspended construction of a wharf built for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant resumed in early May, making it possible for Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) to import a nuclear reactor from Japan next month, the company said yesterday.

In order not to delay the scheduled completion of the nuclear power plant in July 2006, Taipower would transfer one of two nuclear reactors currently being built in Japan to Kungliao at the end of next month, officials said.

"It means that we have to have the wharf working by then," said Huang Huei-yu (黃惠予), the head of Taipower's public affairs department.

The shipment of the reactor was originally scheduled for late this month, Huang said.

"We don't think the delay will have any effect on the plant's scheduled date of completion," Huang said.

Huang said that Public Construction Commission Vice Chairman Kuo Ching-chiang (郭清江) would be in charge of a task force, which will focus on carrying out strategies to repair damage to the coastline.

The construction of the wharf had been halted in mid-January, when Premier Yu Shyi-kun decided to launch an investigation into the relation between coastal erosion and construction of the wharf.

Last month, the investigation report suggested that the loss of sand at the nearby Fulung Beach could be attributed to stresses on the environment caused by construction of the wharf.

However, ministers without portfolio Lin Sheng-feng (林盛豐) and Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), who are in charge of the investigation, did not ask Taipower to scrap the wharf but ordered the company to communicate with residents of Kungliao township, where the plant is located.

On Thursday, Liu Chao-hsiung (劉照雄), Taipower's site manager for the Lungmen Construction Office (龍門施工處) in Kungliao, convened a meeting with local residents.

According to Liu, on May 1 the Cabinet's Ministry of Economic Affairs ordered Taipower to resume construction of the wharf, further deepening the dock.

Local residents and anti-nuclear environmentalists, however, vigorously expressed their opposition to the decision, and angrily left the meeting.

"It looks like the Cabinet failed to coordinate its subordinate agencies on the issue," Wu Wen-tung (吳文通), spokesman for the Kungliao-based Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association, said yesterday.

Both Wu and environmentalists called for a new, comprehensive evaluation to be conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration.

When the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法) was enacted in 1994, environmentalists began highlighting what they said were questionable aspects of the assessment conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission.

Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑), secretary-general of the Green Citizen Action Alliance, said yesterday that resumption of construction revealed that the Cabinet's investigation into coastal erosion had no substantial influence.

Lai said that the Cabinet's performance in the matter demonstrates that promoting sustainable development had never been the government's priority.

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