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No need to halt 4th nuclear plant project: atomic energy minister

2012/05/22 20:34:39

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) There is no immediate need to stop construction of Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant, although the project has several problems, Atomic Energy Council Minister Tsai Chuen-horng said Tuesday.

Tsai also promised that once Taiwan reinforces the safety measures at the plant, disasters such as the nuclear meltdown that hit Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami would not occur.

"The fourth nuclear power plant project has encountered several difficulties, but they are not serious enough to require an immediate halt to construction," Tsai said at a conference on energy and industrial development in Taipei.

Although Taiwan is not capable of designing a nuclear power plant, the country ranks among the best in the world in terms of its ability to run and maintain such plants, Tsai said.

The severity of the Japanese disaster resulted from the fact that it was worse than anticipated in the design and because of the delayed response after the accident, he said.

Taiwan, on the other hand, has taken precautions against such nuclear accidents since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster, the minister said.

Not only has Taiwan moved to improve safety measures that were already in place, but it has beefed up its capability to respond to serious accidents, Tsai said.

For example, in a safety drill scheduled for September, engineers will practice how to bring nuclear reactors to a complete halt within an hour, he said.

Moreover, the state-run Taiwan Power Co., which runs the three operating nuclear plants in Taiwan, has submitted test results of the nuclear plants' safety to the energy council for review, Tsai said.

When the review is completed in June, the report will be sent to the European Union for further examination, the minister said.

(By Lin Meng-ju and Scully Hsiao)
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