AEC rules to continue construction of 4th nuclear power plant

Taipei, Dec. 20 (CNA) The state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) can continue construction of its fourth nuclear power plant, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) ruled Tuesday during the last safety meeting of this year, held inside the compound of the facility in Gongliao, New Taipei. AEC Deputy Minister Huang Ching-tung said the continuing construction, however, will remain under tight scrutiny by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the AEC. The AEC had said during a meeting in August that Taipower should consider suspending construction of the plant because it had failed to offer key safety solutions to perceived flaws in the facility. Li Jung-yao, a manager of the plant's safety team, said at Tuesday's meeting that a safety team set up in October will be responsible for monitoring future test-runs of the plant. He also gave a briefing how the flaws will be fixed. He said Taipower had completed 95.2 percent of the construction of the unit 1 nuclear reactor and 91.33 percent of unit 2 as of the end of November. Meanwhile, nearly 100 environmentalists gathered outside the plant calling for construction to be suspended. Gongliao Anti-nuclear Self-Help Association Chairman Wu Wen-chang said the environmentalists were being treated as a mob and most were denied entry into the plant compound. Green Citizen Action's Alliance Secretary-General Tsui Su-hsin, who is also a member of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant Safety Oversight Committee, said she was not satisfied with the solutions offered by Taipower. She said she would invite former committee member Lin Tsung-yao to comment on the company's latest solutions in the next meeting. Lin had formerly identified flaws in the plant's design, construction and operating system and offered solutions to the problems. (By Huang Chiao-wen and Ann Chen)