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Taipower expects 4th nuclear plant to enter operation in 2014

2012/03/26 19:53:43

Taipei, March 26 (CNA) State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) hopes that operations at the country's fourth nuclear power plant will begin in 2014, Taipower President Lee Han-shen said Monday.

Over 96 percent of the plant's construction has been completed, Lee said, with the remaining work to involve software and safety improvement projects following the meltdown of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami last year.

Answering lawmakers' questions during a legislative committee hearing on the final statement of the government's 2010 budget, Lee also said some time will be needed to invite international experts to oversee a trial run called for by the public.

The fourth nuclear power plant project was proposed in the 1980s, and its construction was given the green light in March 1999.

The project was suspended for several months between 2000 and 2001 after the Democratic Progressive Party came into power, and continuing controversy over the project has repeatedly pushed back the plant's proposed start-up date.

The controversy grew following the nuclear disaster in Japan last March. The government believes the plant's 2,700 megawatts of electricity generating capacity will be needed to support future economic development, especially as greater emphasis is put on lowering greenhouse gases.

Opponents of the plant contend that there have been flaws in the construction, leading to major potential safety issues, and they feel the plant could not withstand major natural shocks similar to those that occurred in Japan, putting Taiwan at serious risk.

(By Wu Ching-chun and Kay Liu)