Wed, May 23, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Minister downplays Fourth Nuclear Plant problems

Staff writer, with CNA

The construction of Taiwan’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), does not need to be halted even though the project has several problems, Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) said yesterday.

Tsai also pledged that once the country reinforces safety measures at the plant, disasters such as the nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami would not occur.

“The Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project has encountered several difficulties, but they are not serious enough to require an immediate halt to construction,” Tsai said at a conference on energy and industrial development in Taipei.

While Taiwan does not have the capacity to design a nuclear power plant, the country ranks among the best in the world in terms of its ability to run and maintain such facilities, Tsai said.

The severity of the Japanese nuclear catastrophe resulted from the fact that the plant’s design had not anticipated the severity of the disaster coupled with the delayed response following the accident, the minister said.

Taiwan, on the other hand, has taken precautions against such nuclear accidents since the major incident in Japan, he said.

Not only has Taiwan moved to improve safety measures that were already in place, but it has beefed up its capability to respond to serious accidents, Tsai said.

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