Sat, Jul 23, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Power plant closure to take 25 years

By Lee Ya-wen, Lai Hsiao-tung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said it would take up to 25 years to completely shut down the reactors of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), including the removal or relocation of irradiated equipment as well as spent fuel rods.

Following Taipower’s withdrawal on July 7 of its application to extend the life of the nation’s first nuclear power plant, the company on Wednesday said that the plant’s first and second reactors would be shut down by December 2018 and July 2019 respectively.

The company said it has been considering closing the plant since 2014, adding that once it has obtained approval, most of the buildings in the Shihmen plant would be ready for immediate deconstruction.

Everything south and southwest of the switchyard for the 345kV lines — one of the main lines in the nation’s power grid — is designated a conservation area, in which new buildings, such as low-radiation waste storage, dry storage for spent fuel rods that allows for extraction of stored rods, vitrified high-level radioactive waste storage, low radioactive material burners and compactors for low radioactive materials and other facilities, would be built.

North Coast Anti-Nuclear Action Alliance executive Kuo Ching-lin (郭慶霖) said the government would finally be returning clean soil to north coast residents, as he urged Taipower to focus on shutting down both reactors as soon as possible.

How to dispose of nuclear waste is a problem Taiwanese have to face together, Kuo said, adding that whether the final choice is mid to long-term dry storage, or the designation of one ultimate disposal site, the choice must be made in a fair and transparent manner.

The answer should not automatically be the north coast just because it is less populated, Kuo said.

Shihmen District Laomei Borough (老梅里) Warden Hsu Pao-lu (許寶祿) said that subsidies promised to the area should be continued as long as there is still nuclear waste in the vicinity.

Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu (林德福) said that the company would strive to keep the shut-down on schedule, adding that it hoped the New Taipei City Government would approve the request for a new dry storage facility to facilitate the process.

However, New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) has stated that the Shihmen power plant must not become the ultimate disposal site for spent fuel rods.

Coupled with the city council’s refusal to approve the establishment of new storage for spent fuel rods, Taipower is looking at yet another legal tussle with the municipal government.

New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said that the city would consider establishing a temporary storage facility for nuclear waste if Taipower safety could be guaranteed.

However, Taipower must make public its timetable for the removal of the spent fuel rods from the facility and their relocation to a permanent facility.

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