Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Taipower mulls relocating spent fuel storage facility

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) on Wednesday said that it is considering the possibility of changing the location of the second phase of a spent nuclear fuel rod storage site for the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant.

Taipower said that the possibility of a change in the location of the storage facility arose after the discovery that the planned site is located in a place prone to soil liquefaction.

The plant is in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) and the first phase of the storage facility is in inside the complex.

Lin Te-fu (林德福), a spokesman for Taipower’s nuclear power division, said that soil liquefaction at the planned site ranges between zero and 9.3 points.

Soil liquefaction between zero and five points represents a low degree of vulnerability, and between five and 15 points indicates a medium degree of vulnerability, while 15 points and above indicates a high degree of vulnerability, Lin said.

Soil liquefaction can make buildings and structures vulnerable to earthquakes. The phenomenon occurs when an earthquake causes saturated granular material to behave like a liquid.

Lin said that due to concerns over possible damage resulting from soil liquefaction, Taipower would consider the possibility of taking measures to improve soil strength at the site, but added that if deemed necessary, the company would find a different location to build the storage facility.

The safety of the storage site will be assured by whatever means necessary, Taipower said.

Soil liquefaction has become an issue of public concern since it is believed to have been one of the factors in the collapse of an apartment complex that killed 115 people in Tainan in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan on Feb. 6.

The second phase of the storage site is aimed at allowing Taipower to store spent nuclear fuel rods from the first and second reactors at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant after it is decommissioned.

The reactors are to go offline on Dec. 5, 2018, and July 15, 2019, respectively.

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