Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday criticized the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) over its reported decision to reactivate a nuclear reactor in exchange for a NT$36 million (US$1.2 million) project from Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported on Tuesday that the council had secured limited bids for two research projects from Taipower, for NT$17.5 million and NT$18.7 million respectively.
Taipower used the bids in exchange for the council’s authorization to reactivate the No. 1 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市), the magazine said.
“Now we know why the AEC approved the reactivation on June 18, despite the fact that there are still many safety concerns about the reactor,” DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.
Numerous problems with the reactor have been found since March, including seven broken anchor bolts and 20 cracked bolts, and cracks up to 30cm in length have been found in the core shroud of the reactor, Lin said.
Lin said he suspected the council had failed to avoid a conflict of interest, as at least four experts on the reactor safety review board had connections to the AEC’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Research.
Taipower has failed to respond to more than 100 questions raised by experts at a safety review meeting, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
However, she said, experts signed a letter of consent one week before the AEC authorized the reactivation of the nuclear reactor.
“The timing is highly -suspicious,” Cheng said.
Taipower denied the report, saying the projects were listed as limited tendering because the research institute is the only institution in Taiwan with the technology to do the research.
The bids were awarded in February and March, months before approval was granted, the company added.