Taiwan spent fuel reprocessing tender process suspended

Shaun Burnie, with Mycle Schneider

On March 20, 2015, it was announced that Taipower is to suspend the tendering process for the reprocessing of spent fuel from the Chinshan and Kuosheng reactors. Contract bids were requested for the reprocessing of an initial batch of 480 spent fuel assemblies from Chinshan and 720 assemblies from Kuonsheng to be shipped overseas between 2015 and 2018. Following the intervention of cross party members of the Legislative Yuan (National Parliament) on March 16, 2015, the Economics Committee overwhelmingly demanded that the tendering process should be suspended pending approval of the budget by the Yuan. The Government had indicated that T$11.3 billion (about $371 million) would be required to cover the reprocessing of 1,200 assemblies. In turn, parliamentary members accused Taipower and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of trying to initiate a bidding process with foreign companies without parliamentary oversight and of misusing the nation's nuclear back-end management fund before legal guidelines governing its administration had been drawn up. It is unclear whether Taipower had received bids for reprocessing services prior to the decision to suspend the process. The expectation is that AREVA and its La Hague plant in northern France would have secured the contract. The prospects for this proceeding as planned now appear less certain.