Tue, Mar 13, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taipower hits back at protesters

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

If all the nation’s nuclear power plants were immediately taken offline, power rationing might have to be implemented, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said late on Sunday in response to demands by protesters that all nuclear plants should suspend operations.

“Using the data from last year as an example, the actual [electricity] reserve capacity rate was 20.6 percent. If the electricity generated by the nation’s three nuclear power plants were eliminated, the reserve capacity rate would drop to 6 percent,” Taipower said.

Provisional power dispatches, mechanical failures or regular maintenance procedures could force restrictions to be implemented on electricity consumption, it said, adding that the nation has an independent electricity supply system and it could not purchase electricity from other countries if it faced a power shortage.

On questions about the safety of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, which is under construction in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), Taipower said it would ensure the plant’s safety before commencing operations.

Taipower said it would invite operators from the World Association of Nuclear Operators, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as oversea and local specialists to evaluate the plant during the operational test period.

Taiwan lacks power resources and relies on imports for 99 percent of its energy resources, the company said. The generation of electricity must therefore take resources, the environment and economic development into consideration, it added.

In addition, Taipower said all low-level radioactive waste dumped on Lanyu (蘭嶼), also known as Orchid Island, would be removed as soon as the construction of a final disposal site is completed.

An examination of the storage site on Lanyu was completed in November last year, and although a slight leak was found, the radiation level was lower than the regulated standard and would not cause harm to human health or the environment, the company said.

Taipower said it would continue to improve its environmental management at the storage site to avoid any more radioactive leaks.

However, several environmental protection non-governmental organizations were not convinced by Taipower’s response and said they plan to hold a press conference today at the legislature to elucidate their concerns.

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