Taipower blasted over Nuke 3 malfunction
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipower was yesterday strongly criticized for not knowing that an electric power system at the Third Nuclear Power Plant had remained nonfunctional between April and July.
September 18, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said that the malfunction posed a threat to the power plant's defense in depth, and that Taipower will remain under intensified supervision for at least one year.
AEC Vice Chairman and spokesperson Chou Yuan-ching (周源卿) said that the malfunction had occurred because Taipower staffers forgot to reset the system after inspection. The system subsequently remained nonfunctional for the next 84 days.
The plant's staff reportedly noticed that a red light had been flashing on their monitors but decided it was a “false signal” caused by the inspection. It was not until they did a test that they discovered the 161 kV system was actually nonfunctional.
After discovering what had transpired, Taipower notified the AEC. Human error has been determined to be the cause of the anomaly, Chou said, adding that the council has reprimanded Taipower and will intensify its supervision for at least one year.
Chou said that the anomaly had increased the possibility of the second reactor's core melting down by 2.49 parts per million.
If there had been an incident, the cooling system would not have been able to fully function, leading to a possible reactor core meltdown, the spokesman said, adding that according to international standards, the malfunction represented a level 1 “anomaly.”
In addition to the First and Second Nuclear Power Plant shutdowns during June and July, this is the third nuclear power plant-related incident.
Taipower officials said that they have reprimanded those responsible for the malfunction, and that the power plant's safety measures will be strengthened.
The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale is divided into 8 levels, with level 0 being the lowest and level 7 being the highest. Level 1 events are identified as “anomalies.”