Nat­u­ral gas costs NT$3 bil. more with nu­clear out of ac­tion: firm

The China Post - - TAIWAN BUSINESS - BY JOHN LIU

With some of the na­tion’s nu­clear re­ac­tors stay­ing out of ser­vice, nat­u­ral gas has been tapped as a re­place­ment fuel, re­sult­ing in NT$3 bil­lion in ad­di­tional costs, said Tai­wan Power Com­pany (Taipower, ) yes­ter­day.

One of the First Nu­clear Power Plant’s two re­ac­tors has been de­ac­ti­vated af­ter an an­nual main­te­nance op­er­a­tion was per­formed on Dec. 10, 2014. A com­po­nent fail­ure has de­layed the re­open­ing ini­tially sched­uled for Jan. 15.

The now-de­funct re­ac­tor would gen­er­ate 1.44 mil­lion kilo­watts per day. Us­ing nat­u­ral gas in­stead in­curs an ad­di­tional NT$2 in cost ev­ery day, and in the 104 days af­ter Jan. 15 has in­curred some ex­tra NT$3 bil­lion, said Taipower.

The news cast a shadow on fu­ture elec­tric­ity prices, since the gov­ern­ment is sched­uled to make an­other price ad­just­ment in Oc­to­ber.

The na­tion’s nu­clear power faced even greater un­cer­tainty on Mon­day when one of the Third Nu­clear Power Plant’s re­ac­tors was shut down af­ter a fire. There was al­legedly a trans­former glitch, and re­pair work is es­ti­mated to take two weeks.

Taipower spokesman Lee Hong- chou ( ) pre­dicts “great ram­i­fi­ca­tions” if tem­per­a­tures go up and the re­pair on the re­ac­tor is not ap­proved in a timely fash­ion.

Also, a re­ac­tor at the Sec­ond Nu­clear Power Plant was shut down on April 24 for rou­tine main­te­nance.

At present, only three of the na­tion’s six nu­clear re­ac­tors at the three nu­clear power plants are in op­er­a­tion. All the nu­clear mal­func­tions and mishaps loom over the com­ing peak util­ity-use sea­son.

Tai­wan’s Elec­tric­ity Re­serve

Mar­gin Drops Fur­ther

Tai­wan’s elec­tric­ity re­serve mar­gin dropped to 5.93 per­cent on Mon­day in the wake of the nu­clear fire ac­ci­dent.

The re­serve mar­gin is the gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity avail­able to meet short-term de­mand if a gen­er­a­tor goes down.

The mar­gin was orig­i­nally pegged at 6.12 per­cent yes­ter­day, but dropped to 5.38 per­cent as of 11 a.m. be­cause of hot weather. A mar­gin of 6 per­cent or be­low, ac­cord­ing to Taipower’s bench­mark, sig­nals an alarm­ing state of util­ity sup­ply and a higher chance of ra­tioning.

Taipower fore­cast ear­lier that the re­serve mar­gin will plung to as low as 3.3 per­cent be­tween May 20 and 28.

In or­der to keep a re­serve mar­gin of 4 per­cent or above, Taipower de­cided to post­pone main­te­nance on some of the Ming­tan Power Sta­tion’s ( ) gen­er­a­tors.

If all re­ac­tors in Tai­wan’s three nu­clear power plants were func­tion­ing prop­erly, they would gen­er­ate a to­tal of 51.44 mil­lion kilo­watts, ac­count­ing for 12.6 per­cent of Tai­wan’s en­ergy sup­ply.

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