Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear power plant stress tests are flawed: alliance

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Green Citizens’ Action Alliance said yesterday that the conclusions of an international team of experts on Friday that the nation’s three operating nuclear power plants had passed a stress test were flawed, and that civic groups should be allowed to participate in the tests.

The assessment of the stress test reports of the three operating nuclear power plants, released by a peer review team from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency, concluded that, overall, the test was implemented properly and its measurements were adequate, with a few caveats.

The alliance, a civic environmental group that has been dedicated to campaigning against nuclear energy in favor of sustainable energy for many years, made the remarks in a press release yesterday, saying that the Atomic Energy Council’s (AEC) nuclear disaster risk calculation should be based on potential for danger, not on probabilistic risk assessment.

The reports provided by the AEC were insufficient and not up-to-date, because they did not include the possibility of the Shanchiao Fault (山腳斷層) causing earthquakes or tsunamis, nor did they use state-of-the-art modeling to analyze tsunami risks, the group said, adding that the AEC should also take the team’s recommendation about implementing a systematic evaluation of combinations of different hazards more seriously.

Moreover, in light of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, the AEC and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) should not use the scale of “the most severe incident in history” as its calculation base for enhancement designs, but should be aware that there may be severe accidents beyond the design endurance standard, the group added.

The group said the AEC’s self-congratulatory attitude of boasting of the nuclear power plants’ good condition to the public may lead to nuclear accidents, because neither it nor Taipower have provided any data on the relationship between the Shanchiao fault and possible earthquakes that may cripple the plants, which geologists and environmental groups have often warned of.

It said that the stress tests should also include civic participation, to publicize the data for discussion and allow other specialists from other fields and civic groups to examine whether the tests were done with sufficient transparency.

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