Taipei, June 30 (CNA) The No. 1 generator at Taiwan's second nuclear power plant will be shut down for good and enter its decommissioning stage Thursday night after producing power for 40 years, state-run utility Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said Wednesday.
The generator's 40-year operating permit does not expire until the end of 2021, but because its spent fuel pool was almost full, Taipower reduced the unit's power generation capacity by about 20 percent since late February.
Given that the pool is now full, Taipower said the No. 1 985 MW generator at the Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District, New Taipei, will end operations Thursday night in preparation for a major overhaul of the unit to make sure it is safe before it is ultimately decommissioned.
The overhaul is expected to be completed in six months, the utility said.
The plant's other generator is scheduled to operate until March 2023 when its operating permit expires, according to Taipower.
Taiwan's government is committed to phasing out the use of nuclear power by 2025 and replacing it with renewable energy so that renewable energy will account for 20 percent of the country's energy mix.
Fossil fuels will continue to account for the other 80 percent.
Nuclear power accounted for about 11.2 percent of all the electricity generated in Taiwan in 2020, down from the 16 percent to 19 percent it once contributed.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said other forms of energy, including natural gas, solar energy and hydro power, will be used to fill the gap once the No. 1 generator is taken off line.
Taipower first proposed its decommissioning plan for the Kuosheng plant's No. 1 unit three years ago, and it was approved by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) on October 2020.
The plan included the construction of a dry storage facility for used fuel, but building the facility could be delayed by an ongoing dispute between the city of New Taipei and Taipower.
The New Taipei government has yet to issue a permit for a storage facility for used fuel rods for the No. 1 generator, saying it is opposed to building a permanent spent nuclear fuel storage facility within the city.