The No. 1 generator of the Second Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan that has been in service for 40 years since 1981 was decommissioned on July 1st. Will it affect the supply of power amidst the blazing hot summertime where a surge in power consumption is expected? Taiwan’s state-owned electric power company Taipower (TPC) believes that such a scenario is unlikely. According to a statement by the company, a number of generators that were previously under annual and major overhauls have successively resumed operation. The continuous grid-connection of renewable energy in the island and the successful operation of the no. 2 generator at the Chiahui Power Plant will also ensure an uninterrupted supply of power.
The no. 1 generator of the Second Nuclear Power Plant has an installed capacity of 985MW, and was supposed to be decommissioned on December 27th. However, the insufficient space for the plant's used fuel, and the fact that the New Taipei City Government has yet to grant approval on the construction of permanent dry storage facilities, have resulted in the inability of the plant to find a proper storage solution, leading to the early decommissioning today.
Legislator Hung Sun-han commented that the storage pool for the no.1 generator of the 2nd nuclear plant had already reached close to full capacity back in May 2020. The no. 1 generator was initially set to store a total of 4,838 units of used fuel rods, but had already stored 4,808 units at the end of May. Thus, the generator was forced to decommission in advance on July 1st 2021 as its fuel nuclear waste is prone to risks of radiation pollution and leakage without the use of additional storage spaces and appropriate safety measures. As the management of nuclear wastes can be dangerous, the New Taipei City Government has been strongly opposed to the idea of storing them for well over 5 years.
The recent increases in WFH arrangements, unusually hot weather in Taiwan, and growing electricity demands will inevitably give rise to major concerns over the shutdown of the second nuclear power plant's reactor and its impact on the stability of power during the summertime. Despite the overwhelming concerns over the shutdown, the Taiwan Power Company believes that there will still be a stable supply of power in the summer due to the successive resumption of services from the previously overhauled generators, the successful operation of the no. 2 generator at the Chiahui Power Plant, and the continuous grid-connections of renewable energy. The company also stressed that there will always be auxiliary and support services which are dedicated to different public demands and needs.
The generators that have entered major overhauls recently, including the no. 4 generator of the Hsieh-ho Power Plant, the no. 3 generator of the Linkou Power Plant, and the no. 2 gas-fired generator of the Hsinta Power Plant, have all returned to service recently. Meanwhile, the no. 6 generator of Talin Power Plant and the no. 6 generator of Tatan Power Plant will also be incorporated in early July. The new 500 MW generators of Chiahui Power Plant have already generated power and accepted dispatching, and renewable energy, such as solar and offshore wind power, is continuing to be integrated into the grid. For instance, the 181MW PV at Qigu of TSC has completed grid-connection yesterday, and the Phase-1 offshore wind farm of TPC is hoping to generate power in late July.
TPC is also currently maintaining a stable power supply by implementing a demand response auxiliary service. It is currently working with private institutions on cogeneration, as well as a continuous cultivation in energy storage facilities. TPC commented that aside from maintaining the stability of power supply, the relevant safety equipment will also undergo maintenance and regular testing in order to facilitate decommissioning at the end of the year, subsequent to the suspension of the no. 1 generator of Taiwan’s second nuclear plant.
On July 1st, the highest power consumption in Taiwan is estimated to be around 37,000 MW; the maximum power supply for that day is estimated to be around 42,368MW, while the peak operating reserve was at 14.51%. The power supply light had showed a “green” light which indicates that there is sufficient supply.
(Cover photo source: TPC)