A reactor at a nuclear power plant in southern Taiwan was shut down following a fire that broke out at around midnight Sunday, its operator said Monday.
Taiwan Power Co. spokesman Lin Te-fu told Kyodo News the fire broke out at 23:58 p.m. at the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant at Hengchun, apparently caused by a short-circuited supplementary transformer.
Firefighters extinguished the fire in 17 minutes and there was no leakage of radiation, Lin said.
Unit 2 reactor of the facility has been shut down and repair is estimated to take about two weeks. But because the facility has two reactors, the shutdown will not affect the supply of power.
A probe is under way to determine the cause of the short circuit in the transformer, Lin said.
Taiwan has three operating nuclear power stations — two in the north and one in the south. All have operated safely for many years, while providing nearly 20 percent of the island’s electricity.
A fourth plant is under construction, also in the north. However, various shutdowns due to engineering problems and policy reversals have delayed its completion.
The Taiwan government said last year that it will freeze construction of the fourth facility pending endorsement of the project by voters in a national referendum.
Taipower, as the power utility is commonly known, said in January that construction will enter a three-year hiatus on July 1.
Concerns about the safety of nuclear power flared up again in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Apart from apprehension over the growing stockpile of nuclear waste, critics say adding a new nuclear power facility in earthquake-prone Taiwan’s heavily populated north will only make matters worse.