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No plans to extend life of 3rd Nuclear Power Plant's No. 1 reactor: Cabinet

07/11/2024 07:47 PM
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The Third Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County. File photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.
The Third Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County. File photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.

Taipei, July 11 (CNA) The decommissioning of the No. 1 reactor at the Third Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County will begin as scheduled on July 27, the date its operating license expires, Cabinet spokesperson Chen Shih-kai (陳世凱) said Thursday.

Chen was responding to a media query about the Cabinet's stance on whether to extend the service of the Third Nuclear Power Plant -- Taiwan's only active nuclear power plant.

"Even if the law is amended [after July 27], the plant would not be able to generate electricity right away," Chen said, referring to possible changes to the Nuclear Reactor Facilities Regulation Act and subsidiary regulations.

The regulations stipulate that the operation of a nuclear plant shall not be continued without the renewal of a plant's operating license at least five to 15 years before expiry.

However, the Legislature's Education and Culture Committee, which oversees the Nuclear Safety Commission, is currently reviewing a series of opposition Kuomintang (KMT)-proposed amendments that would allow nuclear power plants to bypass the license renewal process and continue operating.

Chen said that while there has been much discussion about the use of nuclear power recently, "the government's stance is clear... the problems of nuclear waste and safety need to be solved and there must be public consensus."

"Taiwan is a country that has a relatively big population with limited open space," he said. "Finding places for interim storage and final disposal of nuclear waste is not an easy task, and it is a fact that there has been much difficulty in communicating with the local governments and the public [about where to place the waste]."

The First and Second Nuclear Power Plants have entered the decommissioning process and stopped operating, but some of the fuel rods are still in the reactors due to a lack of space in waste storage facilities, Chen said.

The Third Nuclear Power Plant's No. 2 reactor is scheduled to stop operating after 40 years of service in May 2025.

(By Lai Yu-chen and Alison Hsiao)

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