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Taiwan's 4 nuclear plants can withstand strong quakes: Taipower

2011/03/26 21:01:06

Taipei, March 26 (CNA) All three of Taiwan's operating nuclearpower plants and a fourth one under construction can withstandearthquakes with seismic intensity of more than 7, the operator ofthe plants said in a statement released Saturday.

State-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) was responding to anewspaper report that all of the country's four nuclear power plantsare located in high-hazard areas.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times said in a front-page reportthat day that the Wall Street Journal cited data from the WorldNuclear Association (WNA) as saying on March 21 that at least 34 ofthe world's operating nuclear reactors are in high-hazard areas andthat 30 of them are in just two places -- Japan and Taiwan.

The local daily also quoted Chan Chang-chuan, a professor atNational Taiwan University's College of Public Health, as saying thatall of Taiwan's nuclear power plants are on the WNA's high-risk list.

In response, Taipower said the company referred to U.S. nuclearpower regulations and safety standards when selecting the sites forits nuclear power plants.

"Ours are all situated in relatively stable locations, " thestatement said, adding that all of the plants' main facilities arelocated on rock basins that can sustain seismic intensity of greaterthan 400gal, or higher than 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agencyseismic intensity scale.

Magnitude is the measurement used to quantify the force of anearthquake at its epicenter, while the intensity refers to the amountof ground motion in a particular area during a temblor.

Taipower stressed that it referred to available documentedmeteorological data in designing its plants and installing safetymeasures and facilities.

Nuclear safety has drawn mounting concern amid Japan's unfoldingnuclear power crisis after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake andsubsequent tsunami crippled its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant onMarch 11.

Taipower said it is conducting new geological surveys on thesites of its three operating nuclear plants, as well as their abilityto sustain seismic damage.

"We will do our best to shorten the study period and will carryout improvement measures if they are deemed necessary," the statementsaid.

Each of Taipower's nuclear plants has two reactors and the No. 4plant still under construction will also be equipped with tworeactors.

(By Lin Hui-chun and Sofia Wu)