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Safety inspection at fourth nuclear plant to begin in May: MOEA

2013/03/31 21:10:12

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) A team of experts will begin to move into Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant on April 2 and is expected to pass a verdict on the safety of the nearly completed facility in November, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a report Sunday.

The team will consist of 45 veteran engineers with experience in operating and maintaining the three nuclear power plants that are currently in operation in Taiwan and 12 international consultants, the MOEA said in the report, which has been submitted to the Legislature.

They will soon begin preparations at the fourth nuclear power plant, located on Taiwan's northeastern coast in New Taipei, for a new trial run to begin in May, it said.

It will take six months from the team of experts to reach a verdict on whether or not the nuclear plant can operate safely, it said, adding that the findings will be released to the public.

The MOEA report was submitted a day before Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch and Hwang Jung-chiou, chairman of Taiwan Power Company, were due to appear at a hearing of the Legislature's Economics Committee to review the state-run utility's spending.

It also came as President Ma Ying-jeou held talks with a group of concerned mothers who are calling for a halt to the fourth nuclear plant, a controversial project which began in 1999.

During the meeting, also attended by officials from the MOEA, Taiwan Power and the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council (AEC), Ma instructed the AEC to made public the sites of 38 radioactivity monitoring stations and the criteria used in the detection of radioactivity around Taiwan.

In addition to being a positive response to the concerned mothers, the action would also be a step forward in the government's efforts to increase transparency ahead of a referendum planned to decide the fate of the fourth nuclear power plant, the president said.

(By Kuei-hsiang Wen and Jay Chen)