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