Legislature set to decide on nuclear power plant reactor restart

Taipei, Premier Lai Ching-te (???) said Tuesday that the decision on whether to restart the second reactor at the No. 2 nuclear power plant in New Taipei’s Wanli District will be made by the Legislative Yuan after reviewing a safety report on the reactor.

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) on Monday approved a request from Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) to restart the reactor, but the Legislative Yuan still has to give its approval before the reactor can be restarted.

Asked whether the AEC’s decision means restarting nuclear reactors before 2025 does not violate the government’s commitment to decommission all Taiwan’s nuclear power plants by 2025, Lai said the reactor was not retired from operation and Taipower’s application was filed following the completion of major maintenance work in accordance with existing procedures.

The AEC has completed a safety review of the reactor and the decision to restart it will be up to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which supervises Taipower, and the Legislature, Lai said.

Regardless of whether the reactor is reactivated or not, the government’s plan to achieve a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 remains unchanged, Lai said, adding that he remains confident that goal will be achieved

Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (???) said that Taipower has followed AEC rules and procedures for a permit to restart the reactor and if the AEC is required to present a safety report to the Legislature, the ministry will provide all necessary support.

Asked whether the nuclear reactor will restart in April, Shen said the ministry will follow AEC rules on the matter.

Meanwhile, a national anti-nuclear alliance on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction with AEC approval of Taipower’s request, raising question about the safety of restarting the No.2 reactor at the No. 2 nuclear plant, while calling on the Legislature to rigorously scrutinize the application.

At a press conference held to unveil plans to stage anti-nuclear protests across Taiwan on March 11, the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform called on the government to bring forward its plan to phase out nuclear power completely.

One of their main appeals is to phase out the No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants earlier than scheduled in 2019 and 2023 respectively, and to scrap the newly constructed and mothballed fourth nuclear power plant in densely populated New Taipei.

The No. 2 reactor at No. 2 nuclear plant has been offline since May 2016, when there was a glitch in its electrical system during major maintenance work.

The last round of maintenance on the reactor was completed in December 2017. Taipower then filed an application on Feb. 5 to restart the reactor.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel