MOEA rules out opening fourth nuclear power plant

Taipei--The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Wednesday that despite the current power shortage in Taiwan, the government has no immediate plans to introduce power rationing nor is it considering opening the fourth nuclear power plant that has been mothballed since 2014.

At a press conference, Deputy Chief of the MOEA's Bureau of Energy Lee Chun-li (???) said the government is doing its best to maintain a stable electricity supply.

However, the option of putting into operation the fourth nuclear power plant in New Taipei is not even on the table, he said, responding to a question about the demand in some sectors of society for the plant to be opened.

Work on the almost completed fourth nuclear power plant was halted in 2014 and the facility was mothballed amid anti-nuclear protests around the country.

Lee said the addition of several new generators to the country's power system is expected to help ease the tight power supply, while consumption is likely to drop by 200,000-300,000 kilowatts a day as a result of a power saving measure implemented in government offices and organizations.

Currently, public agencies and organizations are required to turn off their air conditioning systems from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every workday, during the peak electricity consumption period.

At the press conference, Lee called on the wider public to try to save electricity but said he did not anticipate any break in the supply.

"I don't think the electricity supply will be suspended or rationed," he said.

Meanwhile, the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) fired up three new generators on Wednesday but the one at Tatan Power Plant in Taoyuan failed in the trial run, according to Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu (???).

The other two generators at Talin Power Plant in Taichung and Tongxiao Power Plant in Miaoli County, respectively, produced 215,000 kW of electricity, which is expected to help ease the tight supply, Lin said at the press conference.

Lin projected that the system net peak capacity on Wednesday would be 36.98 million kW, with electricity usage peaking at 36.2 million kW.

The operating reserve margin would around 2.14 percent, or 775,000 kW, flashing a red light for the third time this year, he said.

Taipower's official website showed that the red alert was in effect until 2:13 p.m. Wednesday, after which it dropped to orange, indicating that the power reserve was below 6 percent but higher than 900,000 kW.

The alert status change was attributed to the introduction of the two new generators.

Taiwan's power supply has been tight since July 29 when Typhoon Nesat toppled an electricity transmission tower operated by Ho-Ping Power Co., an independent supplier.

With the collapse of the Ho-Ping tower, the country's electricity supply dropped by 1.3 million kW per day.

Lee said the restoration work on the tower was 85 percent complete and should be finished by Saturday, one day ahead of schedule.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel