The four-month suspension in construction of the island’s fourth nuclear plant has resulted in a two-year delay in its completion and tens of billions in New Taiwan dollars losses in postponement of its operation, according to Ouyang Min-sheng, chairman of the Atomic Energy Council [AEC] Monday.
In a news conference called to release the results of the council’s periodic inspection of the plant’s construction, seven months after the work on the plant was resumed, Ouyang said the construction has progressed only one per cent. He said that the whole project is 18 months to two years behind schedule thus far. The plant was 33.81 per cent finished when the government abruptly announced that the project would be halted on Oct. 27, 2000 and is now 34.62 per cent finished.
Although the government caved in to the pressure of the opposition-controlled legislature and announced the reinstatement of the plant on Feb. 14, construction didn’t resume immediately because of time-consuming negotiations with some 90 contractors on compensation and the resumption of work, Ouyang said.
The General Electric Co., which was contracted to design the whole plant, didn’t restart its work until July when talks on compensation for the disruption was concluded, according to the AEC.
Taiwan Power Co., which owned the plant, estimated the additional compensation caused by the four-month halt in construction to be NT$3.4bn ($100m). The postponement will translate into a delay of commercial operation of the plant – 18 months for the proposed first unit and two years for the second unit, and a loss in revenue of NT$10 bn ($294.11m).
Despite the slowness in building, Ouyang said his council was satisfied with the quality of the construction in terms of the strength of the iron bars and the iron plates used in the shielding of the reactor. The construction site remained largely intact during Typhoon Nari, which barrelled through the island last weekend and wrought havoc on the island, a fact, Ouyang said, that bore witness to the quality of the construction.