Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) has approved Taiwan Power company's (Taipower’s) application to reconstruct the used fuel pool at unit 1 of its Kuosheng nuclear plant in New Taipei's Wanli district, the China Post reported on 7 April.
The Kuosheng NPP comprises two 985MWe boiling water reactors (BWRs). The AEC approved Taipower's application - submitted last August - following a review by a special task force of council officials and 11 other experts. AEC officials promised to carefully monitor the construction work and participate in all future plant tests to ensure that the work followed safety standards.
Taipower spokesman Lin Te-fu said construction of the replacement pool would take about two months. Unit 1 is already undergoing annual repair work, which started in November. Lin said it should be back online in early July. A rejection of Taipower’s application would have left the unit shutdown over the peak energy-consumption summer season, running the risk of brownouts and blackouts. The decision came amid rising anti-nuclear sentiment as the Tsai administration is criticised for moving too slowly on its promise to phase out nuclear power by 2025.
Taiwan has two other operational nuclear plants – the Chinshan NPP in New Taipei's Shimen district with two 636MWe BWR units and the Maanshan NPP in Pingtung county with two 951MWe pressurised water reactors. Unit 2 at the Chinshan NPP is set to be shut down permanently, while the Maanshan plant is set to undergo annual repairs shortly, which will last until early May. The fuel supply for the Chinshan Plant unit is running low and the life span of its current fuel used pool is limited, Lin said. If the New Taipei City Government fails to issue its licence for renovation, the unit will be shut down.