S Korea to restart one of two troubled nuclear reactors

Reuters, SEOUL

Tue, Jan 01, 2013 - Page 5

South Korea will restart one of two nuclear reactors this week after being shut for nearly two months to replace parts which were found to have forged documents, easing power supply concerns as winter bites, the nuclear regulator and operator said.

The State-run Nuclear Safety & Security Commission yesterday said in a statement that it had approved the restart of a 1,000-megawatt (MW) reactor in Yeonggwang County, 300kmsouthwest of the capital, Seoul.

A spokesman at Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, state-run Korea Electric Power Corp’s subsidiary that runs the country’s nuclear industry, said the reactor was expected to fully supply power within this week.

South Korea’s nuclear sector has been involved in a series of minor incidents and a scandal over forged certificates for parts used in what the government insists are non-essential operations — events that led to the closure of two reactors.

The commission has not yet decided when to approve the restart of the second reactor and is still discussing the issue with local residents, its officials said.

The commission has been investigating all 23 reactors to see if they were supplied with parts with fake quality documents and whether there are any safety concerns. Of the 23 reactors, four with a combined 3,680MW power supply capacity remain closed, according to industry data.

The government has been campaigning nationwide to save energy and avoid power blackouts in the colder than usual winter.