Test runs on the Fourth Nuclear Plant should be completed as scheduled by June and all reports submitted to the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) by September, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee yesterday.
Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) told lawmakers that the fourth nuclear plant’s first reactor is now in its “pre-operation” phase, conducting test runs on a total of 126 systems (including 308 test items), and all of the tests must be completed and approved before the plant can go into the “start-up test” phase in which fuel rods are inserted.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) asked the council to clarify rumors that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taipower have decided to install fuel rods into the reactor by September.
An AEC official said the council has not received official requests from the two agencies on installing fuel rods into the reactor, but based on the experience of nuclear power plants in other countries, reviewing the test run reports would take about three months and start-up tests would take about a year to finish.
DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said Taipower had promised during a public hearing in 2011 to add two gas turbine generators to the reactor for additional power reserves in case of an emergency, and then-premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) had agreed.
However, the installation of the gas turbine generators was supposed to be completed by June last year, but Taipower has “surreptitiously” moved the deadline to March 15 this year, based on its safety check report submitted to the council in January 2012, Lin said.
Taipower vice president Chen Pu-tsan (陳布燦) said the installation was delayed because new designs were made, but the company plans to have the generators installed by February next year.
Tsai said the council has not yet approved Taipower’s proposal to change the installation schedule to next year, but added that the generators are not part of the 308 items required to pass safety test runs before the plant can move on to its start-up test phase.
The council does not set the time schedule for Taipower and is only in charge of making sure that it finishes and passes all required safety test procedures, he said.
However, while the generators are not part of the safety test-run items, they must be installed before Taipower can apply for an operating license, he added.
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Woody Duh (杜紫軍) reiterated that the ministry aims to have all test runs done by June and is hopeful that reports on the 187 safety-related items would be submitted to the council for review by September so the plant can proceed to start-up tests.