AEC to scrutinize petition to restart nuclear reactor

Taipei, The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said Monday that it will scrutinize a report submitted by Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) that day seeking to re-start a reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei after it developed a glitch late last month.

A task force of experts and AEC officials will carefully review the state-run utility's report to see whether it has properly examined the cause of the incident and whether it has made necessary improvements to remedy the situation, the AEC said.

Taipower must carry out all necessary measures to correct the fault before its request to reactivate the reactor can be approved, the AEC said.

The No. 2 reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei's Wanli District tripped March 28, just one day after resuming operations amid fierce opposition from environmentalists.

An initial check suggested that the reactor's failsafe tripped when too much steam was discharged from side valves, creating a pressure overload, Taipower said.

Before being restarted March 28, the reactor had been shut down for an overhaul since May 16, 2016, when some of its surge arresters burned out because of an excessive voltage level.

To curb a looming power shortage in Taiwan, Taipower applied for AEC approval to restart the reactor Feb. 5 after completing a revamp. On March 5, the AEC decided to allow the reactor to run again. The reactor is expected to generate 985 megawatts of electricity, or 3 percent of the operating reserve margin.

The AEC issued a formal document March 20 giving Taipower a green light to restart the reactor because the state-owned utility aims to keep its operating reserve margin -- the percentage of total generating capacity available above peak demand conditions -- at 6 percent or more to accommodate an expected increase in electricity use as summer approaches.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel