More than a dozen groups yesterday called for construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮) to be terminated for good and that an oversight committee be established by the legislature to monitor and investigate the plant’s operations.
Speaking in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Green Citizen Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the Executive Yuan officially announced that the plant’s No. 1 reactor would be sealed after completing safety inspections and construction of the No. 2 reactor would be halted, but structural reinforcement projects are still being completed on the No. 1 reactor.
Media reports said that a leak was found in the No. 1 reactor’s containment building, while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said that structural reinforcements would be undertaken to solve the problem, he said, adding that Taipower’s behavior is breaking the government’s promise that there would be no new constraction at the plant.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Hung said the groups are against Taipower and the government using the term “safety inspection” to conceal the fact that construction projects are still ongoing at the plant.
“Why do we want to spend so much money in the hope of reviving the plant?” he asked, adding that the groups are against spending billions of New Taiwan dollars each year after the reactor is sealed up, and possibly spending NT$30 billion to NT$50 billion (US$995 million to US$1.6 billion) if the reactor restarts in the future.
“Many scandals have occurred during the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant construction project, why hasn’t anyone been made to shoulder the responsibility?” Raging Citizens Act Now co-convener Kuo Ming-chu (郭明珠) said. “We have the right to safeguard taxpayers’ money. The construction should be terminated immediately, rather than postponed, before it harms future generations.”
Tsai Ya-ying (蔡雅瑩), a lawyer affiliated with the Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, said the money used to maintain the reactor after it is sealed up would be better used on developing sources of sustainable energy or installing a “smart” national grid to improve energy efficiency.
Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association secretary-general Yang Mu-huo (楊木火) said the groups not only have doubts about the quality of construction at the plant, but also about the inspection personnel and the safety standards being used.
Brandishing official reports from Taipower and the Atomic Energy Council, Yang said high leak rates were discovered during a structural integrity test on the No. 1 reactor’s reinforced concrete containment vessel.
Yang said the pressure test was only set at 358.9 kilopascals, while a monthly magazine published by Taipower showed that the Olkiluoto 3 Nuclear Power Plant in Finland pressurized the containment vessel up to a maximum of 600 kilopascals during a test earlier this year.
When specialists from the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization visited the plant in October last year, they pointed out that the emergency diesel generators must pass at least 300 test runs before they could go into operation, but the government announced that the emergency diesel generators had been proved safe because they were tested 25 times earlier this year, Yang said.
Yang said the examples show that safety inspection standards used at the plant are questionable.
The groups said as the plant’s poor quality of construction has made the public wary, the government should shut down the plant and establish an oversight committee — consisting of lawmakers and civic groups — to monitor the shutdown, as well as investigating the shoddy construction and flaws of the past decades.
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