State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電 ) yesterday said that General Electric Co (GE) has filed for arbitration to resolve a payment dispute concerning the US company’s work at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮), with Taipower saying it would not affect the safety of the sealed plant.
During an Atomic Energy Council (AEC) nuclear safety review committee meeting yesterday, Taipower vice president Chai Fu-feng (蔡富豐) said that GE, which designed the plant’s reactors, filed for arbitration in September with the International Chamber of Commerce to seek a third-party intervention in the contractual dispute.
The dispute originated from GE’s request for payment of fulfilled contract terms, but Taipower is yet to ascertain the exact amount of the payment, Chai said.
Chai did not specify what contract terms were involved in the dispute.
“Taipower would not refuse the payment, but it is withholding payment because evaluation and timing of the payment issues are yet to be resolved,” he said.
Taipower spokesperson Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the two companies have different understandings of contractual obligations and fulfillment and went through a negotiation process without coming to a conclusion.
The precise timetable of the arbitration process has yet to be determined, Lin said, without disclosing the amount GE requested, adding that it would not affect GE’s work at the now-sealed plant.
The plant was mothballed in July amid growing concerns over its safety. Taipower has to maintain safety on the perimeter of the site during the storage phase, and yesterday’s meeting was to review the company’s maintenance work.
Taipower is required to submit 187 reactor system test reports on the sealing operations to the AEC, but the council has approved only 94 of the 126 reports it has received.
Plant general manager Wang Po-hui (王伯輝) said that the company has hired three specialists in sealing operations and reactivating a sealed plant referred to the plant by the World Association of Nuclear Operators who have management experience at a Japanese nuclear power plant.
“Taipower does not depend on other companies to maintain the power plant, while legal problems would not discontinue GE’s technical support of the facility,” Wang said.
AEC Deputy Minister Huang Tsing-tung (黃慶東) said: “Taipower is not inexperienced in maintaining a nuclear plant where reactors have been shut down.”
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