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Premier urges Taipower to vouch for safety of No. 4 nuclear plant
Central News Agency
2013-04-17 09:27 PM
Taipei, April 17 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah called Wednesday on the employees of Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), which operates the country's nuclear power plants, to promise that their work can withstand any tests.

He issued the call during an inspection of the under-construction fourth nuclear plant in northern Taiwan. The premier noted that the public is concerned about the safety of the plant in Kongliao, New Taipei -- which is nearly complete -- on three fronts. "Their major concerns include whether the construction of the plant is safe, whether it will be able to withstand earthquakes and tsunami, and whether Taiwan has learned anything from the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant," the premier said. He noted that construction of the plant was suspended in 2000 due to a policy change, but resumed the following year.

The suspension, resumption and problems that have emerged in follow-up construction have caused misgivings among the public, he went on.

He said that if doubts about the plant permeate throughout society, it will mean that explanations about the plant's safety have been inadequate. The premier urged Taipower employees to commit their lives and their integrity to their work so that "they can withstand tests and challenges." The premier said that the date of a planned referendum on the fate of the fourth nuclear plant will be decided by the Central Election Commission.

He also said that the Cabinet will regularly publish the results of the rigorous safety checks being conducted at the plant so that the public can be properly informed and decide whether they support the continued construction and operation of the plant.

The premier, accompanied by Vice Economics Minister Francis Liang and Taipower Chairman Hwang Jung-chiou, first listened to a briefing before inspecting the pumping room, a water pool and the plant's No. 1 reactor.

A plant executive briefed the premier on several measures being adopted by the plant against tsunami, including a watertight building to protect the pumping machines, seven emergency diesel-electric generators, turbo electric units, and a 4.8-ton water pool, measures that they said were not installed at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Taipower also said that a test task force comprised of senior technicians from the country's first, second and third nuclear power plants, as well as advisers from U.S.-based General Electric, which is responsible for the design of the plant, has been conducting safety checks since the task force's formation April 2. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu)

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