Taiwan Halts Construction at New Nuclear Plant, Completion Uncertain

Amid large anti-nuclear protests, Taiwan's leadership has halted construction at the Lungmen plant pending a national referendum.

Lungmen nuclear plant in Taiwan. Source: WikipediaThe ruling Kuomintang party reached an agreement Sunday wherein unit 1 will not enter service after safety inspections are complete; and construction of the nearly completed second unit will cease. Whether either plant becomes operational will be the subject of a national vote, the China Post reported, and Taiwanese politicians continue to debate the referendum's timing and voter turnout requirements.

Both units at Lungmen are 1,300 megawatt GE-Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water reactors. Construction began in 1999 and has faced significant delays, including an earlier shutdown at the behest of a previous government when the reactors were about one-third complete. According to the World Nuclear Association, Taipower expected fuel loading to begin at unit one in September. Anti-nuclear sentiment in Taiwan has increased substantially since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accidents in Japan, and tens of thousands of demonstrators amassed in Taipei to oppose the plant over the weekend.

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