Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said yesterday it is still considering filing an appeal against a court ruling it lost after the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) charged the firm with making arbitrary changes to the design of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday that the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled against Taipower in an administrative lawsuit against the AEC, which imposed a fine of NT$15 million (US$500,000) on Taipower for violating Article 14 of the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Control Act (核子反應器設施管制法).
It said the AEC discovered that Taipower had arbitrarily altered as many as 700 parts of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant design, starting in 2010.
The Liberty Times report also said that Taipower claimed the changes had to be made as the result of a contract dispute with US-based General Electric, the plant’s designer, and that they would not affect safety at the plant, but that the court did not accept the company’s explanation.
In response to the court ruling, Taipower chief nuclear energy engineer and spokesperson Chai Fu-feng (蔡富豐) said the company had not decided whether it would appeal the ruling and that most of the changes made to the design had been approved by the original manufacturer.
“They [General Electric] have approved most of our methods [for altering the design],” Chai said, adding that the changes had been made before General Electric could review them because Taipower did not want to set back the construction schedule and that about 97 percent of the alterations had since been approved by the US firm.
Taipower is still communicating with General Electric on the other 3 percent, Chai said.
In addition, Taipower said it has already asked specialists to conduct a safety risk assessment on the altered design of the nuclear power plant to ensure that it is safe.