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AEC approves restart of No. 1 reactor at second nuclear plant

2018/11/30 20:21:51

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) The No. 1 reactor at the second nuclear power plant in New Taipei's Wanli District is expected to restart soon, following the completion of its annual maintenance, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said on Friday.

According to the AEC, Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) submitted an application on Nov. 13 to restart its No. 1 reactor, after it was taken offline on Oct. 11.

The reactor failed to pass its initial inspection after on-site inspectors discovered leaks on the ceiling of the reactor's building.

A report was later filed by Taipower to the AEC on Nov. 23 that explained the cause of the leak and detailed repairs done to resolve the issue.

The AEC finally gave the green light to restarting operations on Friday after receiving a final safety assessment review from its inspectors.

A restart date has yet to be confirmed by the AEC.

The last time work was carried on the second power plant was on June 7, when its No. 2 reactor was taken offline for a brief safety inspection, but operations resumed within a day.

The inspection was scheduled because the vibration calibration of the reactor's side bearings needed to be adjusted, according to Taipower.

When operating at full capacity, the reactor generates about 985,000 kilowatts of power, or 2.7 percent of Taiwan's operating reserve margin -- the percentage of generating capacity available to the power grid that can be called upon within a short period of time.

The green light was given just days after voters approved a referendum calling for the abolishment of a law requiring all of Taiwan's nuclear power plants to cease operations by 2025.

The referendum was seen as a rebuke of the government's energy policy, which has emphasized a nuclear-free homeland by 2025.

Taiwan currently has three aging nuclear power plants, which have two reactors each.

Currently, only the third nuclear plant's two nuclear reactors are operating at full capacity, while the second nuclear plant's No. 2 reactor is operating at 67 percent capacity.

The two reactors at the first nuclear power plant have been idle and are unlikely to be restarted before their scheduled decommissioning in the next year.

Nuclear power, which accounted for close to 20 percent of the electricity generated in Taiwan in the first half of this decade, contributed only 9.3 percent of the country's power needs in 2017.

(By Pan Tzi-yu and Ko Lin)