Taipower gets approval to restart Kuosheng 2

06 March 2018

Taiwan's Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday approved a plan to restart unit 2 of the Kuosheng nuclear power plant, which has been offline since mid-2016. The final decision on whether the reactor can be restarted remains with the Legislative Yuan.

The 948 MWe boiling water reactor went offline in May 2016 following an electrical ground-fault incident that damaged the surge arresters of the main generator. The reactor had recently under gone a major refurbishment. Repairs and maintenance on the reactor were completed in December last year.

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) applied to the AEC on 5 February to restart the unit to ensure sufficient power during the coming summer months. The reactor's restart will also help cut air pollution which has increased following the greater use of coal and gas generation.

Taipower's request to restart the unit will now be considered by the Legislative Yuan, which will review AEC's safety report on the reactor. If approved, Kuosheng 2 would be able to continue operating until its operating licence expires in March 2023.

Premier Lai Ching-te said that, regardless of whether Kuosheng 2 is restarted or not, the government's plan to phase out nuclear energy in Taiwan by 2025 remains unchanged, the Central News Agency reported.

Taiwan's power supply is dominated by coal and gas at 46% and 32%, respectively. Nuclear power plants used to provide about 16% of its electricity but the figure has dropped to around 13% in recent years. In addition to Kuosheng 2, Chinshan 1 has been closed for over two years following a fuel fault which has been rectified and Chinshan 2 has not been allowed to restart after a typhoon. Despite all these units having regulatory approval to operate, their restarts have been blocked politically.

The construction of two 1350 MWe advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs) at Lungmen - Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant - began in 1999, with the first originally scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2006 and the second in 2007. However, that project has been beset with political, legal and regulatory delays. The completed unit 1 was mothballed in July 2015, while construction of unit 2 was suspended in April 2014.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News