Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Team says nuclear stress tests conducted properly

REASSURING WORDS:A Japanese specialist said that in the event of a Fukushima-like incident in Taiwan, the nation’s nuclear plants would probably survive

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

An independent peer review team from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) yesterday released its preliminary assessment of Taiwan’s stress test reports on the nation’s three nuclear power plants and said that overall the criteria used was consistent with that in the EU.

A team of six specialists from Turkey, Japan and the US, organized by the NEA, conducted a 12-day peer review on the stress tests at the plants from March 4, after the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) donated 120,000 euros (US$157,000) to a foundation at the NEA and proposed international and independent peer review support from the agency.

The peer review was mainly based on four stress test reports, including the national report conducted by the AEC and three reports on the three plants by their operator Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).

In addition to reviewing the reports, the team also visited the Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District (萬里), New Taipei City (新北市)

John Nakoski, team coordinator and an NEA nuclear safety analyst from the US, said overall the team found that the stress tests implemented in Taiwan were consistent with the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group criteria used in the EU, and that the identified enhancements are consistent with those identified in other countries.

“I believe if a Fukushima-type accident occurred in Taiwan, the nuclear plants would probably survive,” said Katsunori Ogura, team member and senior counselor of Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization’s Nuclear Energy System Safety Department, in response to questions on whether the plants would be safe in the event of a natural disaster.

“The team’s assessment is that the implementation of the stress tests met the necessary requirements here,” Nakoski said.

However, he said the team also concluded that completion of ongoing technical evaluations of seismic and flooding risks using updated methodologies could identify issues that Taipower and the AEC may need to address.

He added that the team recommended a systematic evaluation of different hazards be implemented, and that tsunami risk should be reanalyzed using state-of-the-art modeling and updated information in light of observations in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.

AEC Department of Nuclear Regulation director Chen Yi-pin (陳宜彬) said the council has also requested an independent peer review from the EU that is scheduled to take place in the second half of this year. Whether the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be included in the next review is still unclear.

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