With both nuclear power plants in northern Taiwan soon to shut down, a significant gap in power supply is looming.
The News Lens
By: Timothy Ferry
Taiwan will get an early introduction to the dream of a “Nuclear-free Homeland” this
summer when two-thirds of its nuclear power plants will be offline, years ahead of schedule. The cooling pools at both the Jinshan nuclear power plant (NPP1) and Kuosheng (NPP2) are nearly filled to capacity with spent fuel rods. Without capacity to store spent fuel, the nuclear reactors cannot be refueled and must stop operating.
Kuosheng, whose two units were not set to be retired until 2021-2023, will be shuttered as early as November 20, when the fuel rods must be changed for a new cycle. Taipower has submitted a plan to the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) to convert the loading pools – normally used only during the replacement of spent fuel with fresh fuel – into temporary spent-fuel storage. The AEC has been reviewing the plan for the past three months and will likely need another three months to make its final assessment, according to Yeh Tsung-kuang (葉秩光), a professor of nuclear engineering at National Tsing Hua University and a consultant to Taipower on the project. Yeh is confident that the plan will be accepted, but notes that actually converting the loading pools into spent-fuel storage will require nearly a year of construction, during which time the Kuosheng plant will need to be offline. [FULL STORY]