Fires break out at Third Nu­clear Power Plant

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

The Third Nu­clear Power Plant’s ( ) No. 2 re­ac­tor’s out­door trans­former was shut down af­ter a fire broke out yes­ter­day morn­ing, an Atomic En­ergy Coun­cil (AEC,

) of­fi­cial has said. AEC Vice Chair­man Chou Yuanch­ing ( ) said in­spec­tors re­ported no ra­di­a­tion leak­age due to the in­ci­dent. While other power plant equip­ment was rel­a­tively un­af­fected by the fire, the No. 2 re­ac­tor will re­main de­ac­ti­vated un­til the Tai­wan Power Com­pany (Taipower, ) sends in a re­port on the cause of the fire. Fur­ther in­spec­tion and ap­proval by AEC is also re­quired.

Taipower spokesman Lin Tefu ( ) said that the fire was ex­tin­guished 17 min­utes af­ter it broke out at 00:15 a.m. The un­dam­aged No. 1 re­ac­tor is still ac­ti­vated and gen­er­at­ing power.

Un­der AEC scru­tiny, Taipower has cre­ated an in­ves­ti­ga­tion team to look into the cause of the re­ac­tor’s fire. Of­fi­cials be­lieve the fire was caused by a mal­func­tion­ing aux­il­iary step-down trans­former in the sec­ond re­ac­tor.

The rea­sons why it went up in flames is a mat­ter un­der con­tin­ued in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the AEC said. Their find­ings will be pub­lished in two weeks’ time.

‘Red Light’ for En­ergy Sup­ply

Taipower es­ti­mated the op­er­a­tion re­serve rate will slide from 7.29 per­cent to 5.93 per­cent, mean­ing en­ergy sup­ply will be en­ter­ing the “red light” emer­gency sta­tus.

Tai­wan’s power sup­ply will face chal­lenges as half of the na­tion’s en­ergy plants are in­op­er­a­tive. For ex­am­ple, the Third Nu­clear Power Plant was shut down yes­ter­day; the AEC has yet to ap­prove re­ac­ti­va­tion of the First Nu­clear Power Plant’s first re­ac­tor, and the Sec­ond Nu­clear Power Plant’s first re­ac­tor is still un­der­go­ing main­te­nance.

Taipower will be con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into all the other nu­clear power plants to en­sure safety, as re­sults show that this was not the first time a break­down has oc­curred for the sec­ond re­ac­tor.

Due to frontal rains creep­ing upon North­ern Tai­wan fore­cast­ers are ex­pect­ing a drop in tem­per­a­ture. Taipower ex­ec­u­tives have as­sured the na­tion that there will be enough en­ergy as the cooler weather can help re­duce elec­tric­ity us­age this week.

Other power sup­plies, in­clud­ing three emer­gency diesel gen­er­a­tors, will be used in place of the sec­ond re­ac­tor so there will be no break in en­ergy pro­vi­sion, Taipower said.

Yet, while it is ex­pected that the sec­ond re­ac­tor will be fixed soon, the hy­dro­elec­tric power sup­ply will see low gen­er­a­tion due to the draught this year. Taipower ex­pects the first half of the year’s en­ergy short­age to oc­cur dur­ing

mid-May.

Ping­tung Gov’t En­raged at

De­layed No­ti­fi­ca­tion

Ping­tung County Gov­ern­ment an­nounced it will be pros­e­cut­ing the Third Nu­clear Power Plant un­der of­fenses against public safety, say­ing the plant has al­ready failed to no­tify the gov­ern­ment of eight in­stances of public safety dan­ger in the past year.

In re­sponse to the week­end fire, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Third Nu­clear Power Plant said as yes­ter­day was a week­end and the fire had oc­curred in the early morn­ing, the plant’s pri­or­ity was to ex­tin­guish the fires.

How­ever, a pro­lo­cu­tor for the county gov­ern­ment Huang Chienchia ( ) said the one-hour limit reg­u­la­tion was im­ple­mented for en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion is­sues. The fire was con­sid­ered an emer­gency, and the gov­ern­ment ought to be no­ti­fied im­me­di­ately.

The Third Nu­clear Power Plant no­ti­fied the Ping­tung gov­ern­ment within an hour of the in­ci­dent, the AEC at 0:17 a.m., but only no­ti­fied the county fire depart­ment at 0:39 a.m.

CNA

This un­dated photo shows the Third Nu­clear Power Plant trans­former that caught fire yes­ter­day. Tai­wan Power Com­pany (Taipower, ) re­ported that they ex­tin­guished the fire within 17 min­utes of the break­out. They said no ra­di­a­tion leak­age was de­tected. Taipower es­ti­mated the dam­aged equip­ment re­quires two weeks of main­te­nance be­fore re­ac­ti­va­tion.

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