With the search to find a permanent storage site for nuclear waste stalled due to strong opposition, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) officials yesterday said that waste produced by the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市), could be stored at the plant for up to 60 years, but said the company has no idea what to do with the radioactive waste after that time.
“It was taken into consideration in the design for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant that it may be unclear where a permanent nuclear waste disposal site would be constructed for some time, so the plant is capable of storing all its nuclear waste during its 40 years of operation,” Taipower acting vice president Hsu Yung-hua (徐永華) told reporters who visited the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. “If necessary, the storage within the plant could be extended for another 20 years with no problem.”
As for where to store the nuclear waste after 60 years, Hsu said: “We have found several locations, which I would prefer not to disclose at the moment, that are geologically suitable to securely store nuclear waste, but making the decision on a permanent storage site isn’t really something that we [Taipower] can do on our own … during the 60 years, we would await new technology to solve the problem or the selection of a permanent disposal site.”
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Taipower officials said they were highly confident about safety at the plant.
“A nuclear disaster on the scale of what happened at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan could not occur at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant,” said Ko Chih-ming (柯志明), a manager at the power plant. “Because we have protective measures that the Fukushima power plant didn’t have.”
He said that if a major natural disaster, whether a massive earthquake or tsunami, hits or is expected to hit the power plant, the reactor would be immediately shut down “even if that means we may lose the reactor.”
After shutting down the reactor, Ko said Taipower would do its best to make sure there was sufficient water to cool the reactor.
Ko said that the pumps for water cooling at Fukushima were not covered, so when the tsunami hit the plant, the pumps broke down, leading to overheating at the reactor, with meltdown triggering hydrogen-air explosions.
“The pumps [at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant] are protected by a concrete building, so they would not be damaged by a tsunami,” Ko said. “We also have emergency backup electricity generators that could take over power supply in case transmission towers collapse during a massive earthquake.”
Ko said that if all these measures failed, there are two water tanks that hold up to 48,000 tonnes of water on the hill behind the power plant, and “the water could be released through underground pipes, or above-ground water channels we are currently working on, into reactors.”
Plant general manager Wang Po-hui (王伯輝) was emotional when speaking about criticism and doubt from the public.
“I work here, I live here, of course I would make sure that the plant is safe,” he said.
Although Taipower employees are confident about the power plant, some members of the press remained unconvinced.
“It’s really worrisome to me that the employees are overconfident about the power plant and describing it as too perfect a place,” a reporter surnamed Chen (陳) said. “I would rather that they were more cautious and were more honest about telling us which areas they still need to work on.”
“For example, the general manager said the plant is the first fully digitalized nuclear power plant in the world, making it safer than most of its peers — but I’m a bit concerned what would happen if some problem occurs, since no one in the world has ever worked with this new system,” he added.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up