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Nuke safety exams completed by 2016: minister

TAIPEI -- Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Woody Tyzz-jiun Duh said Wednesday that safety reinforcements for all four of the country's nuclear power plants will be completed by February 2016.

Duh noted that 93 of 96 safety items at the first, second and third nuclear power plants currently in operation have now been reinforced and that all should be completed by February 2015.

The fourth nuclear power plant, which is still under construction, needs to have 67 items reinforced, 56 of which have already been completed. Full completion is scheduled for February 2016.

Duh made the remarks to a legislative committee in a report on the progress of the safety reinforcement measures.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) asked Taiwan Power Co., the operator of the country's nuclear power plants, to make a comprehensive examination of the plants in terms of design, equipment protection and contingency measures in the wake of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster that occurred as a result of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The MOEA expressed confidence Monday that the safety tests and checks being done on fourth nuclear power plant project in northern Taiwan will be completed by the end of June as scheduled.

A 45-member special safety inspection team began its review of 126 systems at the country's fourth nuclear power plant, which is still under construction, in May 2013. As of March 2, 104 systems had been re-checked and passed tests, the MOEA said.

Improvements were ordered on another 17 systems and another five systems had yet to be delivered and have not undergone safety tests, the MOEA said in a statement.

The double checks and tests will likely be completed by the end of June, an MOEA official said after a regular meeting of an expert committee tasked to review the safety inspection team's work.

The MOEA will also deliver all the relevant documents and safety reports to the nuclear safety regulator, the Atomic Energy Council, by the end of September for review, the official added.

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