Tue, Aug 06, 2013 - Page 3 News List

MOEA downplays expert’s nuclear plant safety report

‘PERPLEXED’:The ministry said it could not grasp why the inspector had published the report without permission, saying his criticisms of the Gongliao plant were unwarranted

By Jake Chung  /  Staff Writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that it may accept Fourth Nuclear Power Plant security inspector Lin Tsung-yao’s (林宗堯) resignation if the majority of his colleagues on the inspection team feel they cannot work with him any more due to his unauthorized disclosure of their safety report, Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) said yesterday.

Lin, a former member of the Atomic Energy Council’s Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Safety Monitoring Committee and a former General Electric engineer, wrote on the Mom Loves Taiwan Facebook page on Wednesday last week that: “It would be difficult for the Forth Nuclear Power Plant [in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮)] to meet security standards” and backed up his claim with a summary of the team’s inspection report.

Lin said the ministry was incapable of understanding the problems plaguing the Gongliao facility, adding that the council also had difficulty in properly supervising its construction.

Lin told reporters on Friday that the ministry had issued him a gag order via text message on July 26 because lawmakers were still clashing over the issue at the ongoing extraordinary legislative session.

The ministry said it was shocked when it saw Lin’s Facebook post and could not understand why he had published the report without permission.

The ministry said that the SMS it sent to Lin was not a gag order, but a reminder that Chang still had to review the report and that itwould be released at an appropriate time.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has occupied the podium at the Legislative Yuan since Thursday last week to prevent the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) from pushing through a proposal to hold a referendum to decide the plant’s fate.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) postponed the vote until today, but the DPP has said it will continue to occupy the podium until the end of the session.

The referendum was proposed by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on Feb. 25 and has been criticized by the opposition as a political ploy to legitimize the building of the nuclear facility since no previous plebiscite has ever been able to meet the 50 percent threshold needed to make it valid.

“We are perplexed as to why the situation has devolved to this point,” Chang said, adding that he had always been very receptive of Lin’s suggestions and had supported many of them.

During an exclusive interview with the Voice of Taipei radio station, the minister said that Lin had initially said that the running of the nation’s three operational nuclear plants — the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Shimen District (石門), the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in the city’s Wanli District (萬里) and the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Ma-anshan (馬鞍山), Pingtung County — could be extended so the security inspection for the Gongliao plant would not be rushed.

Chang said that he had assured Lin numerous times that the security inspection for the fourth plant would not be affected by the passing or rejecting of the referendum proposal.

The report Lin posted online is inaccurate in several ways, Chang said, adding that Lin was the only one in a team comprised of eight foreign nuclear experts and two locals — Lin and Tsai Wei-kang (蔡維剛) — who held such opinions.

Chang said he also promised Lin that he would be holding a meeting to address the concerns and suggestions Lin had made, adding that it was not his intent to sit on the report and that waiting to release it was not meant as a slight to Lin.

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