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Taiwan's nuclear facilities pass stress test: international experts

TAIPEI--Taiwan's three operating nuclear power plants have passed a stress test conducted by an international team of experts at the invitation of the Cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council (AEC), the experts said yesterday.

The AEC, which oversees the plants' operator — Taiwan Power Co. — invited the experts as a form of independent peer review to conduct the test to gauge the plants' abilities to withstand seismic activity, flooding and other extreme natural hazards.

The AEC said the testing was part of efforts to continuously assess and enhance the safety of the country's nuclear power plants in the wake of the disastrous meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011.

“The implementation of the stress test met the requirements here,” said John Nakoski, a nuclear safety analyst at the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the team's coordinator. The NEA is a specialized agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries based in Paris.

The test came amid increasing concern among the public over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project. These worries have galvanized opposition to the use of nuclear power in Taiwan, culminating in nationwide anti-nuclear rallies March 9 that drew an estimated 200,000 people.

President Ma Ying-jeou has reiterated the government's commitment to ensure that the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is safe before it is allowed to begin commercial operations.

He proposed that the authorities should seek the help of prestigious experts and agencies “as soon as possible” to clear up doubts over the controversial project.

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A Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) representative gives a speech on a recent review of the nation's nuclear facilities. The review found that the state-owned Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) is currently adopting appropriate measures to ensure nuclear safety in Taiwan. The NEA is a specialized agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.(CNA)

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