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July 21, 2017

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70% of Nuke 2 alarms not working: lawmaker

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmaker Chou Ni-an (周倪安) said yesterday that the Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) tried to hide the fact that nearly 70 percent of alarms the Second Nuclear Power Plant were not working during a safety drill in July.

Taipower held the safety drill Nuke 2, as the plant is known, last month; meanwhile, the New Taipei City Government also held an on-the-spot nuclear safety drill, simulating an evacuation of local residents in the event of a disaster.

Environmentalists said that the alarms didn't go off during Taipower's drill, adding that the company and the Atomic Energy Council (原能會) intentionally hid the information. TSU lawmakers yesterday said that the company and the AEC had attempted a cover-up.

Taipower held the drill on July 29, during which only 11 out of 36 alarms functioned. In its review report, Taipower didn't clarify why the alarms had malfunctioned.

Chou said that the issue is very serious, adding that she cannot accept the report's lack of clarity. What if there is a nuclear disaster but the alarms don't work? the lawmaker asked rhetorically.

Li Kuei-lin (李桂林), a former Taipower engineer, said he was shivering when he heard the news. People cannot escape if there is a disaster, the former engineer said.

Taipower's behavior indicates that it's apathetic toward people's safety, Li said, adding that not until a disaster occurs will it recognize the severity of the issue, just like the recent tragedy in Kaohsiung.

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