Reactor at third nuclear power plant shut down: Taipower

The two reactors of the third nuclear power plant in Kenting, on the southern tip of Taiwan, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, are seen during its annual emergency drills. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TAIPEI (CNA) – The number one reactor at Taiwan’s third nuclear power plant was shut down Monday for maintenance after an alarm went off indicating that lubricant oil levels for the reactor’s cooling pump motor were too low.

The reactor was turned off for maintenance as a safety precaution even though the temperature of the reactor’s cooling pump motor was within an acceptable range for safe operation, according to state-run utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower).

The oil was responsible for lubricating and cooling down motor bearings, Taipower said.

There were no radioactive-related abnormalities, Taipower spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華) said, and the shutdown will not have any impact on power availability because power usage is relatively low during cooler winter months.

In a separate statement, the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) said the alarm for low levels of lubricants went off at 10:16 a.m. and the process to shut down the reactor began at 11:15 a.m. after plant workers found that temperatures in the motor bearings were rising.

The incident was the fourth time an alarm has been raised at the third nuclear power plant over the last four months.

The other alarms resulted from electrical interference caused by welding operations on Sept. 21 and Oct. 16, and from noise jamming interference that affected a reactor’s radiation monitor on Nov. 27. None of those alarms led to a reactor being shut down.

By Tsai Fan-min, Pan Tzu-yu and William Yen