Fri, Sep 04, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Nuclear plant review held

WHARF WARS:Protesters demanded a wharf for the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant be taken down, as it has caused the loss of sand from nearby Fulong Beach

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Atomic Energy Council yesterday held a nuclear safety review committee meeting at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), evaluating how Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) manages the mothballed facility, with protesters and residents criticizing the company’s safety measures and the plant’s environmental impact.

The plant was mothballed in July amid protests over the safety of nuclear power and Taipower has to maintain site safety during the storage phase.

There are 126 systems of the plant’s first reactor that need to be monitored during the time it is sealed, while 94 systems have been in uninterrupted operation, including cooling systems, air conditioning and electricity supply, plant general manager Wang Po-hui (王伯輝) said.

The remaining 32 systems are to be sealed in dry or wet-storage facilities while they are dormant, Wang said.

All of the 115 systems of the second reactor, which has not been completed after the government halted the construction in April, are sealed in nitrogen to keep out humidity, Wang said.

Committee member and Green Citizens’ Action Alliance chairperson Lai Wei-chieh (賴偉傑) said that Typhoon Soudelor had caused damage to some minor facilities, but committee members did not know of the problems until people living in the area reported them.

Showing photographs of open holes on walls of the second reactor complex and crude sealing of pipelines, Renli Borough (仁里) Warden Wu Sheng-fu (吳勝福) said that Taipower has been constantly modifying the facility, adding that such modifications might affect the complex’s structure.

Taipower said that it has made no modification that would affect the plant’s structural integrity.

New Power Party legislative candidate Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) asked whether Taipower has a contingency plan to manage the fuel rods stored in the plant.

A resident surnamed Yang (楊) said that every nuclear power plant is a high-level radioactive waste repository, which Taipower never made clear to locals.

Yang said Taipower and the council have put forward no meaningful evacuation plan so far in the event of a nuclear disaster, adding that transport and medical care would need to be provided.

Before the meeting, dozens of protesters, including Lai and Huang, rallied in front of the plant and called for an end to nuclear power, while demanding the deconstruction of the plant’s wharf.

The wharf has caused erosion at the nearby Fulong Beach (福隆), they said.

Yenliao Anti-Nuclear Self-Help Association director Wu Wen-chang (吳文樟) said that the beach has lost a large amount of sand since the completion of the wharf.

Lai said that fishing is prohibited in waters near the plant and the ban remains in place though the plant is shuttered indefinitely, damaging local residents’ interests and livelihood.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) proposed that the company’s used fuel rods be stored in the US, where they were manufactured, adding that the DPP would refuse any proposal to store nuclear waste on Taiwan’s outlying islands.

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