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Activists call for shutdown of No. 2 nuclear power plant

2012/05/23 21:33:46

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Environmental groups staged a protest Wednesday to urge the government to shut down the No. 2 nuclear power plant in northern Taiwan, citing concerns about the safety of the plant.

The protesters gathered outside the Legislature, calling for the government to review the operations of the 30-year-old plant in Wanli, New Taipei City.

They pointed out that in a routine safety check on March 16, the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) found that one of 120 bolts that anchor the plant's No. 1 reactor to its concrete base had broken and six others had cracked.

Taipower recently applied to resume operations of the No. 1 reactor after replacing some parts and carrying out other safety checks.

But the environmental groups said the cracks in the bolts indicated deterioration of the nuclear power plant's structure, operating systems, parts and components. Allowing continued operation of the aging plant would jeopardize public safety, the protesters said.

At a recent public hearing on the matter, Tsuei Su-hsin, secretary-general of Green Citizen Action's Alliance, said the decision to resume operations was not transparent.

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Lin Shu-fen and Cheng Li-chiun said at a legislative committee that the report presented by Taipower did not reflect the real situation.

The DPP legislators suggested that Taipower invite the international Atomic Agency experts to inspect the damaged reactor and ensure public safety before resuming operations at the plant.

People First Party Legislator Chuang Show-foong also expressed opposition to continued operation of the nuclear power plant.

But Taipower said Tuesday that there were no further safety concerns, as all the 120 anchor bolts had been tested and the seven fractured ones replaced, with the approval of the Cabinet's Atomic Energy Council.

(By Zoe Wei, Tseng Ying -yu, Hanna Liu)