Tue, Mar 10, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipower requires more money for nuclear plant

A SMALL TWEAKINGWhile delays were likely for the fourth nuclear plant, the AEC said that more advanced technology would boost total output by 1.7 percent

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipower chairman Chen Kuei-ming (陳貴明) told the legislature yesterday an additional NT$40 billion (US$1.15 billion) to NT$50 billion would be needed if the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is to reach a stage where its two generator units can begin operations in 2011 and 2012.

The additional funding would bring the construction costs at the Gongliao (貢寮), Taipei County, plant to between NT$270 billion and NT$280 billion, Chen said.

Also yesterday, Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) said it was unlikely that the plant would be completed this year as scheduled.

“It will probably take two more years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said yesterday that a “minor alteration,” costing NT$1 billion, would allow the nation’s nuclear plants to add 1.7 percent to their annual electricity, enough to supply 100,000 families.

The reactor cores of the generators had been fitted with new flow meters for feedwater, deputy director of the Department of Nuclear Regulation Hsu Ming-te (徐明德) said.

Hsu said that feedwater is injected into the reactor core to be heated and turned into steam. The steam in turn pushes the main turbine generator to generate electricity.

“Traditionally, reactors are designed to withstand 102 percent of the heating generated by the reactor,” Hsu said.

This is because feedwater that flows into the reaction core is measured by a Venturi Meter, which has a mismeasurement range of 2 percent. As 2 percent means that more water would flow into the core, the reactors could overheat, he said.

With advanced equipment, more accurate ultrasonic flowmeters (UFM) with a 0.3 percent error range are now available, Hsu said.

This means that while workers at a nuclear plant only injected 100 parts of water into the reactor cores under the assumption that an extra 2 percent may have been put in, workers can now input 101.7 parts of water.

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