Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Environmentalists criticize AEC over Taipower oversight

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Environmentalists attending a public forum held by the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday criticized the council for what they said was its lax supervision of Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) regarding the company’s management of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門).

Taipower on April 29 initiated a coastdown of the plant’s No. 2 reactor, allowing the power level to decrease from 100 to 75 percent, without informing the council.

This has caused a scheduled overhaul of the reactor to be postponed for two weeks to the middle of next month, AEC Department of Nuclear Regulation division head Tsao Sung-nan (曹松楠) said.

The council last week set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the incident.

Yesterday’s forum was aimed at collecting opinions from non-governmental experts.

AEC Department of Nuclear Regulation head Chang Shin (張欣) quoted Taipower as saying that the coastdown was done for “distribution of electricity” resons and not out of security concerns.

“We immediately sent an official to examine the situation that day,” Chang said, adding that Taipower has submitted an evaluation report about the incident, which was posted on the council’s Web site.

However, many environmentalists at the forum doubted whether Taipower told the truth.

The coastdown might implicate a security crisis that can be described as “hitting the brake and the accelerator at the same time,” said He Li-wei (賀立維), a former researcher at the AEC Institute of Nuclear Energy Research.

“[The coastdown] has extended [the reactor’s] operation for another 15 days, but did not generate any more electricity,” He said, questioning the company’s motives.

When asked how Taipower could initiate the coastdown without informing the council, Chang said “the regulations [about coastdowns] might not be clear.”

The council would prepare and publish an additional explanation to Article 10 of the Enforcement Rules for the Implementation of the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act (核子反應器設施管制法施行細則), Chang added.

Most of the information in Taipower’s evaluation report has been omitted due to the company’s confidentiality claims, Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) said.

Chang said the committee has access to the full version of the report.

The council would ask Taipower to consider whether it can reveal more information to the public, she added.

“All opinions collected today will be delivered to the investigation committee,” Chang said.

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