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Nuclear reactor operating after brief shutdown

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A reactor at Taiwan's Second Nuclear Power Plant was scheduled to be back in service yesterday evening following an automatic emergency shutdown Friday, the Taiwan Power Company (台電) said yesterday.

Speaking during an emergency press conference yesterday, Tsai Fu-feng (蔡豐富), a spokesman for the company, said the number one unit of the power plant located in New Taipei City restarted operations at 1:41 a.m. on Sunday, after gaining the approval of the Atomic Energy Council (AEC, 原能會).

The power plant is expected to be reconnected to the national power grid to meet electricity demand, he noted. The AEC is the country's top nuclear watchdog.

Tsai's remarks confirmed a Chinese-language report yesterday which first reported the shutdown.

 The United Daily News said that the shutdown was the first this year and has caused a shortage of 1 MWt in Northern Taiwan's power supply.

To meet the high electricity demand in summer days, Taipower had to transfer power from Southern Taiwan to fill the gap, the report said.

Citing a preliminary report by the company, Tsai said yesterday that the reactor automatically shut down on Friday at noon after a warning system detected an abnormally large electrical current caused by a malfunctioning blade damper.

He added that the shutdown was a precautionary measure to protect the nuclear power system, stressing that it was not a nuclear accident.

“The nuclear reactor is functioning normally and the incident did not cause any radiation leak,” he noted.

The blade damper malfunction has already been fixed following the incident, he said.

Tsai also noted that the power shortage problem will be solved soon after the nuke plant is back in service.

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