Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant won’t be delayed

17 June 2002 – The need to rebuild the reinforced concrete foundation for Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant will not delay its scheduled operation, according to the Commission of National Corporations (CNC).

There will be no delay in the installation of the nuclear reactor in the power plant’s first unit, scheduled to start operation on July 15, 2006, CNC officials said Sunday.

Contractors have been required to rebuild the steel framework for the pedestal, which was found flawed, the CNC officials said. Its safety was called into question as substandard welding had been discovered in the frame. The officials said Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), which will operate the nuclear plant, has asked the contractor, New Asia Construction and Development Corporation, and its subcontractor, China Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC), to rebuild the pedestal.

It is estimated that the reconstruction will cost the contractors NT$30m ($882,350). Taipower has obtained a guarantee from the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) that the rebuilding does not affect the safety of the nuclear plant, the officials added. AEC safeguards nuclear safety of the nation. They said the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which oversees CNC, told Taipower and CSBC to “learn a lesson” from the flaw in construction.

Construction of the fourth plant, initially slated to be completed by 2004, was already one year behind schedule because of the government’s flip-flop in 2000 on whether to press ahead with the project. The flawed framework first came to light in April when a whistle-blowing engineer alerted AEC to the shoddy work. The finding led opposition lawmakers to charge their ruling party counterparts with rigging the awarding of contracts.

Twenty-two Taipower and CSBC employees were disciplined Saturday for “dereliction of duty” because of their failure to ensure the implementation of the foundation-building contracts.

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