The Safety Monitoring Committee of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be placed under the Legislative Yuan to better serve its function and allay public discontent, former committee member Lin Tsung-yao (林宗堯) said.
Lin, who in July penned a nearly 5,000-word letter to the Presidential Office detailing several problems at the power plant, including issues with the initial design, procurement problems leading to hasty construction and ineffective monitoring mechanisms by oversight bodies, recently made another appeal to the Presidential Office detailing issues surrounding the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).
In an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Wednesday, Lin, who last month resigned from the Safety Monitoring Committee, said that everyone in the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) was doing everything in their power to prevent mistakes, and many fines were being levied, adding that some have even threatened to stop the project.
Photo: Tang Chia-ling, Taipei Times
However, Lin said the AEC minister wanted to continue construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, leading the council to understate the severity of its problems.
Their reports are misleading the nation and the government into thinking that the testing of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was successful and it would only be a short matter of time before the power plant went into operation, Lin said.
Lin added the council was severely understaffed and was only able to conduct reviews on everyday processing and legal matters, adding that the council was even unable to attend and oversee the testing of security measures.
The council needs to certify that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is safe before giving the power plant its operational license, but it was not present at the testing of security measures, Lin said.
“How then will it convince the public that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is safe and ready to go into operation?” Lin asked.
Lin said that minor flooding took place at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant after a failure of the emergency core cooling system during a trial run on Aug. 16. A pipe in the water cooling system was undergoing maintenance when the trial began, so water being piped from lower levels to the reactor leaked out, causing a 30cm flood of the generator’s sump pit.
Lin said that after the incident, the improvement plans pitched by the Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower) — the operator of the nation’s nuclear power plants — entailed only increasing the number of consultants and trying to improve the quality of their work.
If Taipower does not know what the problem is, no amount of consultants will be able to help it, Lin said, adding that at the Legislative Yuan, the Executive Yuan and the Commission of National Corporations, no one knows how severe problems at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant are.
Lin said that after seven years of working on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, he had decided to quit his post after writing the letters in July.
“AEC deputy minister Shieh Der-jhy’s (謝得志) sudden resignation in July had a great impact on me. He said that he was like a ladybug who couldn’t break out of the glass,” Lin said. “If even the deputy minister can’t do it, how can I, only one member of the 13-member Safety Monitoring Committee, do it?”
At the time of his resignation, Shieh was quoted by local media as saying that he resigned because his personal beliefs conflicted with the council’s position on the matter.
As the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant entered testing stages during the last three of Lin’s seven years at the plant, Lin said he found it to be fraught with problems and gave a detailed account of those problems during a meeting.
Lin said he was forced to write the letters because there was no other channel for negotiation over the problems.
“Once the fuel rod is inserted, there’s no turning back,” Lin said, adding that construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant was delayed for 15 years with no one stopping construction on it because no one was providing oversight.
Lin suggested putting the Safety Monitoring Committee under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Yuan and excluding members who refuse. The committee should hire people with professional experience with nuclear power plants and station these people at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant to oversee and participate in the construction, he added.
At a separate setting on Friday, AEC Minister Tsai Chun-hung (蔡春鴻) denied he was trying to obfuscate the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue and said the Safety Monitoring Committee’s was for consultation only and did not represent the council.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
KEEPING FOCUSED: Premier Su Tseng-chang was said to have commended Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung, but said the tragedy takes priority Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has submitted a verbal resignation in the wake of the Taroko Express No. 408 train crash two days ago, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday. In a call, Lin told Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that he wished to step down, to take responsibility for the deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in 40 years. As of press time last night, the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office had revised the death toll from 51, which had been reported on the previous day, to 50, after DNA testing showed that what had