Safety levels at Taiwan’s nuclear power plants have improved following completion of the first round of inspections in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs March 8.
According to the MOEA, the main reason for the Fukushima nuclear disaster was the flooding of the emergency power supply that came on after the earthquake by the tsunami that followed, so that the pumps that circulate coolant water in the reactors ceased working, eventually leading to a reactor core meltdown and release of radiation into the atmosphere.
Immediately following the incident, the ministry said, the ROC government set up a task force to map out nuclear disaster response measures to ensure public safety. It also began carrying out comprehensive on-site inspections and tests on the capability of the island’s facilities to withstand multiple disasters and major accidents.
The first stage of tests has resulted in enhanced resistance to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters, as well as world-leading reactor management procedures to prevent radioactive leaks, according to the MOEA.
Taiwan’s power grid is isolated and cannot be linked to those of other countries during emergencies, the ministry said, so to prevent power shortages in the event of a nuclear plant shutdown the government will continue to promote renewable energies with mature technology, low basic power generation costs and potential for development. The focus in this area is now on wind power and solar energy.
The goal of a nuclear-free homeland will be pursued under the principles of ensured power supplies, reasonable power rates and fulfillment of the country’s international commitments to reducing carbon emissions, the MOEA said.
At the same time, the ministry continued, it will promote energy conservation and carbon reduction to gradually reduce Taiwan’s reliance on nuclear power.
In addition, the Executive Yuan will conduct an annual review of technological developments, the effectiveness of carbon cutting measures and steps to reduce reliance on nuclear energy, the MOEA said. It will also reassess progress in the elimination of nuclear power every four years, the ministry added.