Ping­tung to sanc­tion power plant for al­leged safety breach

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Ping­tung County au­thor­i­ties will take legal ac­tion against Tai­wan’s Third Nu­clear Power Plant for fail­ing to re­port an ac­ci­dent in the plant that could have harmed public safety, a spokesman for the county gov­ern­ment said Mon­day.

Huang Chien-chia ( ) said the plant failed to vol­un­tar­ily re­port a fire in an out­door trans­former out­side its No. 2 re­ac­tor as soon as it hap­pened late Sun­day night and then lied that it did.

“It is ob­vi­ous neg­li­gence of the value of hu­man life,” the spokesman said.

The nu­clear power plant, lo­cated at the south­ern tip of Ping­tung County on the Hengchun Penin­sula, has faced eight public safety in­ci­dents since 2001, none of which were re­ported to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, Huang said.

This time, the county gov­ern­ment will do what­ever it can to pun­ish the plant “for of­fenses against public safety,” Huang said in con­vey­ing Mag­is­trate Pan Menan’s ( ) anger at the plant’s fail­ure to re­port the fire to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing Fire Bureau hsueh ( to Ping­tung County Direc­tor Hsu Mei), the fire broke out at 11:58 p.m. on Sun­day, and it was re­ported to po­lice by a lo­cal res­i­dent at 00:07 a.m. on Mon­day morn­ing.

Put out the Fire in Seven


The nu­clear power plant’s fire­fight­ing team ar­rived at the scene at 00:08 a.m. and ex­tin­guished the fire by 00:15 a.m, she said, but it did not re­port the fire to her bureau un­til 00:39 a.m., and it did so only af­ter be­ing prod­ded by the bureau.

Plant of­fi­cials re­sponded that their first pri­or­ity was to put out the fire and then no­tify the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

They con­tended that the plant did not break any laws be­cause industrial safety ac­ci­dents must be re­ported to lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties within an hour af­ter they hap­pen.

Huang said the one-hour re­quire­ment only ap­plies to prob­lems in­volv­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion, not for in­ci­dents that pose im­me­di­ate dan­ger.

State util­ity Tai­wan Power Com­pany (Taipower, ), which runs all of Tai­wan’s nu­clear plants, said ear­lier in the day that the blaze broke out in the plant’s non­nu­clear zone and did not pose any dan­ger of ra­dioac­tive con­tam­i­na­tion.

The aux­il­iary out­door trans­former af­fected by the fire, which con­verts 345 KV elec­tric cur­rent into 161 KV cur­rent, sup­plies elec­tric­ity for the op­er­a­tion of the nu­clear power plant, it said.

But there are other power sup­plies, in­clud­ing three emer­gency diesel gen­er­a­tors, that could have main­tained power had the trans­former gone down and pre­vented any in­ter­rup­tion in the sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to the re­ac­tor, the com­pany said.

The Only Nu­clear Power Plant

in the South

The Third Nu­clear Power Plant is the only one of Tai­wan’s three op­er­at­ing nu­clear power plants that is sit­u­ated in the south­ern half of the is­land.

Nu­clear power has been a sen­si­tive topic in Tai­wan since the melt­down of the Fukushima Dai­ichi Nu­clear Power Plant in north­east­ern Ja­pan in mid-March 2011.

The in­ci­dent in­creased doubts over the safety of nu­clear en­ergy and led to public re­sis­tance to the open­ing of Tai­wan’s nearly com­pleted Fourth Nu­clear Power Plant, which even­tu­ally was moth­balled.

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