State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) yesterday proposed plans to improve air pollution at two coal-fired power plants, but an academic said it should work harder to cut heavy metal pollutants, which can lead to respiratory cancers.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday convened a meeting with the utility, officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and subject matter experts to examine the utility’s plans to reduce air pollution produced by its coal-burning units at the Taichung Power Plant and the Sinda (興達) plant in Kaohsiung.
The Taichung plant is equipped with 10 coal-fired subcritical steam generators that generate 550 megawatts (MW) each, and the Sinda plant has four units: two subcritical steam generators that generate 500MW each and two that generate 550MW each, the utility said.
As people in central and southern Taiwan often complain about air pollution from the two plants, the utility has proposed cutting its emissions of particles, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, it said.
The utility expects to reduce particle emissions to 15 milligrams per cubic meter and sulfur oxides emissions to 45 parts per million (ppm), while reducing nitrogen oxides emissions to 60ppm for the Taichung plant’s four units and 50ppm for the Sinda plant’s units, it said.
The Taichung plant’s six other units meet the latest emission standards for supercritical units, with particle emissions reduced to 8 milligrams per cubic meter and emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides reduced to 15ppm, it said.
It would also budget NT$14 billion (US$471.13 million) to build an indoor coal warehouse at the Taichung plant, the utility said.
The four units at the Sinda plant are to be decommissioned in 2023 and 2024, ahead of the original schedule of 2024 and 2027, it said.
In addition to regulated pollutants, Taipower should curb first-level carcinogenic contaminants, such as heavy metals, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride, National Chung Hsing University environmental engineering professor Tsuang Ben-jei (莊秉潔) said.
People living along Taichung’s coastline have been found to develop cancer related to respiratory symptoms more often than those living in the city’s inland regions, he said.
The utility should measure its polluting emissions by their relative proportion to a unit of generated electricity, instead of using “parts per million,” he added.
The officials and experts are to conduct an inspection at the Taichung plant on May 14, an EPA official said.
The agency also plans later this year to review air pollution control plans proposed by other state-run utilities, independent power producers and entities ranked in the nation’s top 30 emitters of stationary pollution, the official said.
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