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Nuclear power plant No. 2 safe from fuel oil leak: EPA

2011/10/04 14:24:54

Taipei, Oct. 4 (CNA) A fuel oil spill that polluted waters off northern Taiwan after a gravel vessel ran aground will not pose a safety hazard to the country's No. 2 nuclear power plant, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Tuesday.

Andy I-fu Shen, deputy director of the EPA's Department of Water Quality Protection, said the spill had not yet spread to waters near the power plant, which is located about 10 kilometers down the coast from where the vessel met with disaster.

"The movement of the spill might be determined by seasonal winds and coastal currents," Shen said, adding that the EPA worked with state-utility Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) and the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) to lay down oil containment booms as a precautionary measure.

The No. 2 nuclear power plant draws some of its cooling water from the nearby ocean.

The concern is that the fuel oil could contaminate the water used by the plant and damage the plant's cooling system itself.

Shen said the authorities have also prepared oil-absorbent sheets near Dawulun Port, Wanli Port and Waimushan Port -- the areas under biggest threat from the spill -- and will make use of them once the fuel oil closes in on the shoreline.

The spill occurred early Monday morning after the "Jui Hsing," a Panama-registered gravel vessel, ran aground near Keelung Harbor due to stormy weather. As of early Tuesday afternoon, six crew members were confirmed dead.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)