Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant
|Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant
|Commission date||N/A (Unit 1)
N/A (Unit 2)
|Construction cost||NT$280 billion
|Reactors under construction||2 x 1300 MW|
|Installed capacity||2,600 MW|
The Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant (Chinese: 龍門核能發電廠; pinyin: Lóngmén Hénéng Fādiànchǎng) (formerly Gongliao Nuclear Power Plant and Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, often abbreviated as: Chinese: 核四; pinyin: Hésì; "Nuke 4"), located nearby Fulong Beach, Gongliao Township, is Taiwan's fourth nuclear power plant, consisting of two ABWRs each of 1,300 MWe net. Operation may start in 2015 and may be subject to a national referendum. It is owned by Taiwan Power Company also known as Taipower.
The ABWR is a Generation III reactor and so far only four reactors of this type have been completed, all in Japan, each taking less than four years to be built. Taipower, however, did not award the contract as a turnkey plant, but hired General Electric to build the reactors, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply the turbines and the generators, and other contractors for the rest, making the project very difficult to manage. In addition, the project was canceled by the Government when it was two thirds complete, only to restart the following year. All these have resulted in significant cost overruns, while in 2011 the Atomic Energy Council of the country criticized Taipower's management of the project.
Construction of the plant began in 1999 and it was expected to be completed in 2004. The temporary cancellation by the Government as well as the project management difficulties that Taipower encountered caused significant delays and pushed the plant price tag to more than US$7.5 billion in 2009.
Generation III nuclear reactors have a 72-hour capability of passive cooling to prevent damage to their core should the plant face a total blackout after an emergency shut down. If core overheating and meltdown became unavoidable, these reactors have core catchers that will trap the molten fuel and stop the nuclear reaction. Finally, a tight containment ensures that no evacuation zone is required around a Generation III nuclear power plant.
The ABWR was designed to a 0.3G earthquake acceleration standard with the Lungmen units seismic hardening increased to 0.4G.
Every custom made power plant has low reliability in the first few years of its operation. Some parts prove unsuitable and need replacement and also modifications become necessary. ABWR was standardized to avoid these, but unavoidably the first units displayed low reliability (45% - 70%) with the experience gained promising to make future units much better. Lungmen units qualify as custom made and it remains to be seen, should they ever be started, how many modifications they will require.
Because of a growing anti-nuclear public sentiment, the Government proposed in the beginning of 2013 a referendum that would allow the people of the country to decide the fate of the plant. The opposition, however, rejected this as unnecessary and tried by force to prevent a vote on whether a referendum should be held.