TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwanese government shut down the No. 1 generator at its Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District, New Taipei City, on Thursday (July 1) to prepare for the unit's full closure.
The nuclear generator went online on Dec. 28, 1981. A General Electric Boiling Water Reactors Type-6 model, the unit was licensed to run for 40 years, which will expire on Dec. 27, 2021. It has produced more than 270 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity for the past 40 years as well as 800 tons of radioactive waste, according to the Environment Information Center.
The generator is being decommissioned early because the spent fuel pool is nearly at capacity. If the generator keeps operating, there will be not be enough space to store nuclear waste, the Taiwan Power Company (TPC) explained.
The company initially planned to store the cooled-down radioactive waste in outdoor facilities in order to free up storage capacity. However, concerns over radioactive contamination prevented the municipality from approving the plan.
The company is currently carrying out an environmental evaluation; after receiving a permit, it will begin decommissioning and dismantling the generator, which will take up to 25 years to complete.
In 2020, Taiwan had 12.7 percent of its electricity come from nuclear while 80 percent was generated from fossil fuels. As the country aims to denuclearize by 2025, ensuring a stable power supply while reducing carbon emissions will prove to be very challenging.
The TPC added that the new 500 MW generator at the gas-fired Chiahui Power Plant, the 181 MW solar panels, operating since June 30 in Qigu, Tainan, and the offshore wind farm in Changhua will cover peak electricity demand during the summer.