Wed, Dec 08, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Energy watchdog delays review of nuclear power plant

Staff writer, with CNA

A review of a plan to extend the operating life of the First Nuclear Power Plant will be put off for another year because Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has asked to increase the plant’s power generation, a request that could take up to 18 months to evaluate.

The nuclear power plant, located in Shihmen Township (石門), Taipei County, has been in operation for 30 years and was scheduled to be shut down in 2018.

EXTENSION

Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said at an Education and Culture Committee session in the legislature on Monday that his agency started a review of the plant’s application to extend its operations in September last year and had hoped to come to a conclusion in two years.

“We may not be able to make a decision [regarding the extension request] when the two-year deadline comes,” Tsai said after Taipower made its request.

A decision on the extension application was unlikely to be made until 2012, officials said.

Chen Yi-pin (陳宜彬), an AEC official in charge of nuclear energy policy, said that Taipower, which operates the power plant, has filed a new request to raise the plant’s power-generating capacity — called a stretch power uprate — by 3 percent.

OTHER DELAYS

The need to prolong the plant’s operation and to raise its power generation apparently reflected concerns that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would not be ready in time for commercial operation.

Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said that if the First Nuclear Power Plant eventually extends its operations beyond 2018, a new lease would have to be negotiated because the original 40-year lease between Taipower and local landowners would expire at around that time.

Tsai said his agency was not responsible for reaching a deal with the landowners, but he agreed it would be reasonable for Taipower to negotiate a new deal, including funds the power plant would contribute to local development.

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