First-phase nuclear safety check completed: official

Staff Writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 07, 2011 - Page 2

The first phase of a comprehensive nuclear safety review, including safety checks on the the nation’s nuclear power plants, initiated after the Japan nuclear disaster earlier this year, has been completed, an Atomic Energy Council official said.

Department of Radiation Protection director Lee Ruoh-tsann (李若燦) said the council had also strengthened its radiation protection capacity and contingency mechanisms.

He was speaking at a two-day Taiwan-Japan Science and Technology Forum in Taipei on Monday, which was held to review the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a major nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Japanese opinion makers, lawmakers and representatives of academic institutes were invited to discuss the issue with officials from the council, the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction and the Digital Information Management Center of Acer.

Lee said since the Fukushima nuclear accident, only small traces of radiation had been found on tourists arriving from Japan, imported Japanese food, shipping containers or ambient air.

“The incident has not caused nuclear safety worries,” Lee said.

The Fukushima incident has provided a valuable experience for Taiwan, Lee said, while announcing that the nation had completed the first phase of an overall examination of its nuclear safety system.

In terms of nuclear power plant safety, the focus will be to guard against earthquakes and tsunamis and establish adequate cooling and electricity reserves, he said.

The strengthening of the contingency mechanism would enhance the system’s capability to detect the spread of radioactive substances and alert the public in real time to evacuate and point them to the right locations, Lee said.