Damage to a cooling water pipe at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門) last year did not affect safety at the facility, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said yesterday.
The incident came to light recently after local media revealed that state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) workers had damaged a water pipe when digging into the ground near the power plant late last year.
The damage to the cooling water pipe occurred during a radiation safety check that included a soil and underground water system inspection, the report said.
An AEC worker stationed at the plant reported that the facility had a seawater cooling system, and that its two reactors and fuel rods remained at proper temperatures, the council said.
The stability of the nuclear reactors and safe storage of fuel rods at the facility were also checked, the AEC said.
However, the council said it would issue Taipower a warning for the safety breach and ask it to make improvements.
Although operations have officially started to decommission the plant, the fuel rods have not yet been removed from its two reactors.
As a result, the damage to the cooling water pipe meant that the reactors were operating at higher temperatures, using just one cooling water pipe rather than two, the report said.
If that pipe had been damaged, it could have caused a nuclear disaster, it added.
Taipower said that the two reactors at the plant have been shut down for several years and reactor temperatures kept within the required safety range.
Despite the damage, the second cooling pipe functioned normally, and safety at the plant was in no way compromised, Taipower said.
There is a backup cooling system for nuclear reactors and the safe storage of spent fuel pools, it added.
Taipower has repaired the ruptured pipe and is to review operational controls and procedures regarding soil examination and digging to prevent a recurrence, it said.
With the plant in the decommissioning process, only two other nuclear reactors at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and another at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County are operating.
Energy generated from the three reactors accounted for nearly 9.6 percent of the nation’s total electricity generated yesterday, Taipower data showed.
The government plans to decommission all nuclear power generation reactors by 2025.
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