Nukes 1, 2 and 3 set to undergo stress testing
By Enru Lin, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Inspectors from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) arrived yesterday to run stress tests on Taiwan's three operational nuclear power plants.
March 5, 2013, 12:35 am TWN
The OECD, a Paris-based trade organization, has sent six inspectors from its Nuclear Energy Agency at the request of Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC).
Over the next two weeks, OECD experts will meet with Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower, 台電) technicians and review reports on Taiwan's three nuclear power plants. Due to time constraints, the OECD will run on-site simulations on the Second Nuclear Power Plant only, according to the AEC.
Stress tests will assess the ability of plant technicians and safety equipment to handle emergencies like earthquakes and floods, according to AEC spokesman Peng Chih-wei (彭志偉).
The OECD will write up their findings by March 15, and the AEC will publish an English-language report within the next month. The council is also inviting experts to run tests on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant this September, he added.
Site by 2021
Also yesterday, the AEC said it expects Taipower to have a new disposal site for low-level nuclear waste by 2021.
The AEC has requested that Taipower complete local referendums by year's end. By 2016, the state utility must have chosen a site and begun construction, said AEC Vice Chairman Chou Yuan-ching (周源卿) yesterday.
The AEC expects Taipower to complete construction for the disposal site by 2021, or else face plant shutdowns and related measures, said Chou.
Taipower currently stores low-level waste at Orchid Island, but strengthening local opposition has forced Taipower to search elsewhere. So far, negotiations with the Marshall Islands, Russia and North Korea have failed to secure a new location.
North Korea is reportedly seeking damages of NT$300 million from Taipower for failing to honor a waste disposal contract inked in 1997.
Taipower Says Nothing Owed
Taipower responded yesterday that it does not need to compensate North Korea because both parties violated terms and rendered their contract invalid.
Under the contract, Taipower was to secure export permits from the AEC and ship 60,000 barrels of low-level radioactive waste to Pyongsan County. In return, North Korea was asked to complete the site and allow an inspection, said Taipower Deputy Director Huang Tian-huang (黃添煌).
But North Korea did not permit the on-site inspection, so the AEC never issued the export permits. These violations render the contract invalid, said Huang.