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Taiwan installs controversial nuclear reactor

Conservationists file lawsuit against Taipower for allegedly appropriating budget illegally

Taiwan installs  controversial nuclear reactor

Taiwan yesterday installed the second Japan-built nuclear reactor at one of its controversial power plants, amid legal action by conservationists.
The 780-tonne reactor, designed by General Electric and built by Toshiba, was installed on the island's fourth nuclear power plant in Kungliao, a coastal township in northeast Taiwan, during a low-key ceremony.
"This marked a milestone in the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant," Huang Pei-shan, from state-run Taipower, told Agence France-Presse.
He added that, as of the end of August, the project was 58 percent completed, at least three years behind the original schedule, largely due to domestic political factors.
Conservationist groups did not show up at the construction site, but pledged to take more steps to shoot down the project.
"This project must be stopped, given safety considerations of the plant and a shortage of places to store the nuclear waste to be generated by the plant," said Ho Tsung-hsun, executive of the No Nuke Union Taiwan.
"We have recently filed a lawsuit against Taipower on charges of illegally setting aside budget," Ho said, referring to what he said was Taipower's broken pledge not to increase the budget when the project was first approved by parliament.
Ho's group plans to launch a nationwide referendum to decide on the fate of the half-completed project in 2007 or 2008, and also sponsor a regional anti-nuclear forum.
Since Taiwan's first nuclear plant became operational in 1987, nuclear power has generated at least 180,000 drums of low-radiation waste.
Taipower had planned to ship the waste to North Korea but was forced to halt the scheme under pressure from South Korea and international conservationists.
The plant had been scheduled to come on line in July 2006, but in 2000, the government of Democratic Progressive Party scrapped the project following an election pledge, plunging the island into months of political turmoil.
The DPP reinstated the project in February 2001, having added billions of dollars to its cost for delay compensation and extra expense.
The nuclear power plant will operate two "Advanced Boiling Water Reactors," each with 1,350 megawatts of capacity. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to become commercial operation in July 2009 and the second one in July 2110.

Updated : 2021-07-24 01:05 GMT+08:00