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September 21, 2017

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Nuke 4's primary containment isolation system fails test

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The primary containment isolation system (PCIS) within the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant's first reactor failed the integrated leak rate test (ILRT) this February, Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) Deputy Manager Chen Pu-tsan (陳布燦) said yesterday.

According to local reports, Taipower conducted an ILRT on the PCIS, and the result showed that the PCIS was insufficient. However, Taipower intentionally hid the truth from the public, claiming that the PCIS satisfied regulations.

Hung Shen-han (洪申翰), Green Citizens' Action Alliance (綠色行動聯盟) deputy secretary-general, also said during a press conference yesterday that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taipower also tried to conceal the truth that the first reactor of Nuke 4 failed the ILRT.

Taipower said that conducting the ILRT was part of regular procedures, and the main purpose of the test was to determine whether or not the metal covers, tubes and doors can be sealed properly.

According to Taipower, similar situations happened when the ILRT was conducted in the nuclear power plants of other countries, so Taipower did not have to hide the truth from the public.

Chen said that the issue discovered within the PCIS can be fixed after the experts figure out the real underlying problem.

"Nuke 4 already passed the structural integrity test (SIT), which suggested that the structure of the building meets the international standard," said Chen.

When asked if it is normal for a PCIS to fail an ILRT, Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Tsai Chuen-horng (蔡春鴻) initially said that it was not normal, but he later commented that it is hard to determine whether or not it is normal, and the main goal of conducting the ILRT is to find the issue and fix it.

"Taipower has already finished the SIT, but the report and related documents have not been sent to the AEC yet, and the council will review those documents closely," said Tsai.

Tsai said that Taipower proposed to stop the initial ILRT in order to figure out the reason why the PCIS failed the test in the first place. After the issue is eliminated, Tsai said, another ILRT will be carried out.

According to the AEC website, the two reactors of the First Nuclear Power Plant will expire in 2018 and 2019, respectively, while the two reactors in the second plant will expire in 2021 and 2023, and the two in the third plant in 2024 and 2025.

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