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Taiwan's power supply under pressure amid nuclear reactor problems

2017/07/23 14:48:12

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) A reactor at the No. 3 nuclear power plant in Pingtung County was shut down Sunday morning due to a cooling system failure, which could strain Taiwan's power supply this week, Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) said.

The power supply at the nuclear plant was interrupted at 1:10 a.m. Sunday after the cooling system of the second reactor developed problems, Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.

The plant managers decided to shut down the reactor as a safety precaution but gave the assurance that there was no risk of radiation leaks, Lin said, adding that the cause of the cooling system problem had not yet been determined.

The affected generator at the plant has a full capacity of 950,000 kilowatts, accounting for more than 2 percent of the country's total energy consumption of 36 million kilowatts per day, Lin said.

With the closure of the reactor, the power supply could come under pressure after Monday, he said.

Taipower had estimated that electricity consumption in Taiwan would spike to 36.1 million kilowatts per day this week, except on Monday, and the operating reserve margin would fall to 5 percent.

Under the company's supply warning system, an orange warning flashes when the operating reserve margin falls below 6 percent, and red and black warnings are issued when the operating reserves fall below 900,000 and 500,000 KW, respectively. A black alert usually means power rationing.

With the closure of the second reactor at the No. 3 nuclear power plant, a red warning is expected to be issued this week.

However, Taipower said it has taken measures to deal with the problem, including using thermal generators at its Dalin plant in Kaohsiung and putting several backup generators into operation.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Evelyn Kao)
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