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September 24, 2017

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Nuclear plants can cope with disaster: AEC

All of Taiwan's nuclear power plants are constructed on solid rock formations and have exceptional security, said Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Vice Chairman Huang Ching-tung. He also said that staff at the power plants would take the necessary action of abandoning the nuclear reactors as a last resort, if necessary to safeguard people's lives and safety.

When responding to questions raised by legislators yesterday, Huang said there are no concerns about the four nuclear power plants because they are all built on sturdy rock.

Huang said operators at Japan's nuclear power plant at Fukushima shut down the nuclear reactors as a final measure to release energy and bring the plant back under control after the failure of other measures.

This was different from the uncontrolled explosions of the reactors, Huang Ching-tung explained.

The staff of the state-owned Taiwan Powepr Co. (Taipower) will take the same necessary action if all other available measures are unable to cope with the crisis, he said.

On the issue concerning the possible impact from the radiation fallout from Japan, Huang said it is impossible for the contaminated air to reach Taiwan due to the low levels of contamination.

The Japanese government is even not asking Japanese people to take anti-radiation iodine tablets because it is not necessary to do so, he explained.

Shieh Der-jhy, another AEC vice chairman, said the commission has asked Taipower to speed up the process of conducting new surveys and inspections of the geological conditions at all of the power plants operated by the firm.

In line with AEC's instructions, Taipower last year began a thorough examination of all the power plants and neighboring areas.

Since it normally takes 14 months to complete the inspections, the wrap up is set for late this year or early 2012. But the safety issues seen at the Japanese nuclear power plant, caused by a massive 9-magnitude earthquake, has prompted the AEC to ask Taipower to speed up the process.

The three nuclear power plants currently in use were constructed under the security requirements and criteria set 30 years ago and the regulations could have seen some changes over the past three decades.

The detailed examination will also focus on a new quake fault line and other possible problems recently discovered by researchers near the two power plants in southern Taiwan, Shieh said.

Action will be taken quickly to improve the safety of the power plants should some safety concerns be verified, he said.

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