The second reactor Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant could start generating electricity by the end of this month or early next month once Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) gets approval from the Atomic Energy Council.
After presenting Taipower’s case for restarting the reactor at the plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) to the legislature’s Education and Cultural Committee, council Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) said that a written approval would be issued to Taipower next week at the earliest.
While approval to restart the reactor was given on Monday, the council followed the legislature’s request to present its safety review of the plant to lawmakers, which is not legally required.
The council is to send a team to the site for another inspection, given that it has been more than 600 days since the reactor was last active, before issuing formal approval next week, Hsieh said.
Taipower could start reconnecting circuits five days after the approval is received and expects to have the reactor fully functional nine days after receiving approval.
The reactor is expected to operate at full capacity of 985 megawatts, which would boost Taipower’s operating power reserve margin — the percentage of generating capacity available to the power grid that can be called upon within a short period of time — by 3 percent.
This would allow more flexibility in power supplies and electricity prices, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) told the committee meeting.
However, Taiwan is still committed to its goal of phasing out nuclear energy by 2025, Shen said.
The reactor has been offline since May 2016 following a glitch in its electrical system discovered during major maintenance work. The move to restart it has sparked nationwide protests over the safety of the nation’s nuclear power plants.
Hsieh and Taipower chairman Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) have said they would take full responsibility if any problems occur with the reactor.
The committee suggested that Taipower present an explanation within two months about how it plans to reduce its use of nuclear energy from now until the use of nuclear energy is completely eliminated by the government’s 2025 time frame.
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