Back to list

Nuclear waste under strict management: Taipower

2012/02/09 21:53:20

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The operator of Taiwan's nuclear power plants took issue Thursday with a French newspaper report that raised concerns about the storage of spent reactor fuel at the plants.

The state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said spent nuclear fuel at its plants has always been under strict management and stored safely.

The report in Le Monde said Tuesday that spent fuel at Taiwan's nuclear power plants had accumulated to a volume of about four times the storage capacity and could therefore be severely hazardous in the event of an accident.

But Taipower spokesman Lee Hung-chou said the storage racks at the company's reactor plants have been rebuilt with advanced technology, which has been adopted by Japan and the United States, and have passed the security standards set by Taiwan's nuclear safety regulator the Atomic Energy Council.

In addition, dry storage facilities are being built at the First Nuclear Power Plant for the purpose of lowering the spent fuel levels in the plant's two storage pools, both of which have a capacity of 3,083 bundles of spent fuel rods, he said.

The dry storage facilities, scheduled to become operational in 2013, will give Taipower enough time to "make ends meet" before the plant's two storage pools become saturated in 2015 and 2016, respectively, Lee said.

He explained that after the heat and radiation have been removed from the spent fuel in water pools, it will be transferred to the dry storage facilities and then taken to a final secure repository.

Several measures will be taken at the new facilities to improve waste storage safety, including putting spent fuel casks in concrete tanks and ensuring round-the-clock radiation monitoring, he said.

He said that Le Monde had quoted anti-nuclear activists in a Nature magazine report, rather than "nuclear specialists," to support its points on safety issues at Taiwan's nuclear power plants.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Deborah Kuo)
enditem /pc