AEC waits on Japan before releasing local reviews

By Lydia Lin, The China Post

The China Post–The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) is relying heavily on developments and updates on the state of the six nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima power plants, so much so that it cannot reveal what inspections are being conducted at local power plants nor provide a timeline for completion of reviews of the facilities.

Investigations, reviews and upgrades for local power plants will be determined after the Japan situation has been further assessed, AEC Minister Tsai Chuen-horng said yesterday. However, basing nuclear power plant investigations on developments in Japan may pose a problem if an earthquake or tsunami were to hit unexpectedly. The AEC minister stated that emergency responses have already been drafted for Taiwan’s three functioning power plants in the event of earthquakes and tsunamis. Every ten years, the council will also review each power plant and make amendments targeting problem areas. It will also decide whether each has enough manpower and if the standard operating procedures and emergency management operations plan are up to date. Looking at and learning from international cases, like Japan, is also part of the process, according to the council.

The AEC, the National Security Council and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications are continuing to conduct radiation screenings at the Taipei Songshan Airport, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Kaohsiung International Airport on people returning from Japan. Yesterday morning, the Oceania Nautica Cruise Ship from Japan docked at the Keelung Harbor with 588 passengers, none of which were found to have alarming radiation levels.

As of 11 a.m. yesterday morning, a total of 30,350 people have been tested, 39 of which were discovered to have higher-than-average radiation levels. The small amount of radiation was found mostly on clothes and shoes, which were immediately cleaned by AEC personnel, retested and cleared.