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June 23, 2017

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Nuclear reactor trip caused by defective water pump

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A cutoff in a nuclear power reactor on Tuesday was probably caused by a defective part or installation of a cooling water pump, and Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said it might hold the supplier, Westinghouse Corp. of the United States, accountable.

Taipower said a cooling water pump of the No. 1 reactor at the Third Nuclear Power Plant malfunctioned at 6:25 a.m. that day, causing the reactor to trip and lowering the power reserve capacity to below 6 percent.

A "safe halt" mechanism was activated right after the reactor's motor tripped, said Taipower, adding that an initial investigation found the incident was caused by the malfunction of a protective part.

Taipower said it has asked Westinghouse to confirm the cause of the trip, and will hold the U.S. company accountable for negligence, according to the terms of the contract.

The power reserve capacity had risen to 6.37 percent as of Wednesday, representing a yellow alert for "tight supply of power."

The affected reactor is capable of producing 0.95 million kilowatts of electricity, and as of press time, Taipower was waiting for Atomic Energy Agency approval to reactivate the reactor.

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