Taipei, The second reactor at the No. 2 nuclear power plant could start generating electricity by the end of March or early April at the earliest once Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) gets official approval documents from the Atomic Energy Council (AEC).
After presenting Taipower's case for restarting the reactor at its No. 2 nuclear plant in New Taipei's Wanli District to the Legislature's Education and Cultural Committee, AEC Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (???) said that the earliest the council can issue a formal written approval to the state-run company is next week.
While the AEC first approved Taipower's application to restart the reactor March 5, it abided by a request from the Legislature to present the details of its safety review to lawmakers on Thursday, a presentation that is not legally required.
With the completion of the Legislature's review, the AEC will send a team to the site of the second reactor one more time for an inspection, given that it has been over 600 days since it was last active, before issuing the formal approval next week, Hsieh said.
Taipower will start reconnecting the circuits five days after gaining the approval and will have a fully functional reactor by the ninth day.
Once it has been restarted, the second reactor is expected to operate at full capacity of 985 megawatts, which will boost Taipower's operating power reserve margin -- the percentage of generating capacity available to the power grid that can be called upon within a short period of time -- by 3 percent.
This, according to Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (???), will afford more flexibility in terms of power supplies and the price of electricity.
The restarting of the second reactor, which has been offline since May 2016 following a glitch in its electrical system during major maintenance work, has sparked protests throughout Taiwan.
Protesters are concerned about the safety of nuclear power plants, and both Hsieh and Taipower Chairman Yang Wei-fu (???) have said they will take full responsibility if any further problems occur.
Meanwhile, however, Taiwan is still committed to its goal of phasing out nuclear energy by 2025, Shen said.
The legislative committee has suggested that Taipower provide a timeline within two months for how it will reduce the use of nuclear energy from now until its complete elimination in 2025.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel