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Nuclear plant construction unaffected by Sinlaku: AEC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Construction on a nuclear power plant in Taiwan was not affected by a typhoon earlier this month despite serious flooding, authorities said yesterday.

Parts of an emergency safety system for the second reactor unit in the plant in northeastern Kungliao township were flooded during Typhoon Sinlaku, said the Atomic Energy Council (AEC).

Rainwater gushing in from an unfinished tunnel leading to the unit reached 2-meter (78-inch) high after the plant’s water pumps halted due to a power failure, the council said.

Some 50 pumps and motors in the safety system were flooded.

“We are assessing the cost to repair or replace the equipment although this should not delay the construction since they are parts of stand-by systems,” said Chen Yi-bin, director of the AEC’s department of nuclear regulation.

The local China Times quoted an unnamed official at the council as saying the incident was “unprecedented” and caused heavy losses for the government.

The plant was slated to come on line in July 2006 after it had been initially scrapped in 2000 by the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party government, plunging the island into months of political turmoil.

The DPP reinstated the project in February 2001, having added billions of dollars to its cost.

The plant, the fourth in Taiwan, will operate two advanced boiling water reactors, each with 1,350 megawatts of capacity.

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