TAIPEI – Taiwan has indefinitely postponed the decommissioning of Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant’s first reactor after 40 years of operation due to nuclear waste management issues, an official confirmed to EFE on Tuesday.
The decommissioning was to begin on Wednesday.
As its storage facilities cannot yet be used, the 866 fuel rods in the first reactor will remain where they are and the plant’s safety equipment will continue to operate, plant operator Taipower’s spokesperson Hsu Tsao-hua said.
The government of New Taipei City, where the plant is located, has not yet given permission to use the storage facilities, which were built in 2013 and which have passed two reviews by the island’s Environmental Protection Administration.
Both the present mayor of the New Taipei City, Eric Chu, as well as the mayor-elect, Hou You-yi, who will take office on Dec. 25, have opposed the stockpiling of nuclear waste in the city or near populated areas.
New Taipei, located next to Taipei, has almost 4 million inhabitants, while Taipei has around 2.7 million, making it the most populous city in Taiwan.
The construction of the nuclear power station at Jinshan, located on a hill along the northern coast of the island, was approved in 1970 and its first reactor began operating for commercial use on Dec.10, 1978.
The Taiwanese government planned to close all nuclear power plants on the island by 2025 but citizens rejected the proposal in a referendum on Nov. 24. Despite that, plans to stop the use of the plants before the end of their lifespans are still in place.
If the island does not reactivate the fourth nuclear power plant, which was closed before use owing to protests and changes in the government’s policy, the three operational plants will have to be closed by 2025, when the second reactor of the Maanshan plant – and the newest – completes 40 years of operation.
The construction of the fourth nuclear power plant began in 1999 and was scheduled to be completed by 2004 but after political disputes and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, it was sealed in July 2015 having cost around $10 billion.