Following expiration of its 40-year operating license, Taiwan's first nuclear power plant has stopped running and will start decommissioning works after approval by the Environmental Protection Administration of its decommissioning plan, which has already passed the screening of the Atomic Energy Council on July 28.
Situated in Shimen District of New Taipei city, the plant is equipped with two 636,000 kilowatt generators and has accumulated 338 billion kWh in power output since the commercial run of the two generators, in Dec. 1978 and July 1979, respectively. One of the nation's Ten Major Construction Projects, the first nuclear power plant has helped the nation weather of the economic impact of the international oil prices in 1970s. Moreover, during the lengthy period of its operation, it has contributed to the improvement of Taiwan's investment environment, industrial upgrading, and development of medium- and downstream industries, facilitating economic development.
State enterprise Taiwan Power Company points out that the first step is the withdrawal of nuclear fuels from reactor cores before storing them in used-fuel pool or dry storage facility, the latter a simpler arrangement which only needs cooling via ventilation.
Taipower already completed installation of "dry used-fuel storage facility" in 2013, which, though, still cannot be used, as the New Taipei City government has yet to issue proof for water and soil conservation. Construction work for second-phase dry used-fuel storage facility is underway.
Taipower explains that the decommissioning operation will take 25 years, with the first eight years being the transitional stage during which evaluation for radioactivity inventory in the premises will be made before execution of decontamination work. Next is dismantling of the plant which will take 12 years, including removal of nuclear fuel to dry storage facility and dismantling of reactors and turbines, followed by continuous radioactivity detection for the environment for three years before dismantling the remaining constructions and proceeding with land recovery.
Taipower stresses that with used fuel staying inside reactors presently, priority tasks of first nuclear power plant is to keep good maintenance of major equipment and the safety of reactor cores, in addition to preparation for decommissioning operation.
(First photo and data courtesy of Taipower)