South Korea shuts nuclear reactors over unapproved parts

 

The BBC's Lucy Williamson said both reactors would remain closed until parts had been replaced

South Korea has shut down two nuclear reactors after it was revealed that some parts used had not been properly vetted, an official says.

Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said these were "non-core" parts and were not a safety threat.

They included fuses, cooling fans and power switches that did not have the required nuclear industry certificates.

The shutdown means there could be "unprecedented" power shortages in the next few months, Mr Hong said.

The more than 5,000 parts could be used in other industries but needed international certification for nuclear power plant usage, he said.

Almost all the parts were used at the Yeonggwang Nuclear Power Plant, in the south-west, where the two reactors were shut down.

"Comprehensive safety check-ups are necessary at these two reactors where the uncertified parts were used extensively," the minister said.

"It's inevitable that we will experience unprecedented power shortage during the coming winter with the two reactors shut."

He said the parts, worth 820m won ($750,000, £467,800), had been sourced from eight suppliers since 2003.

South Korea's 23 nuclear reactors, which supply 35% of the country's electricity, have experienced a series of malfunctions over the past few months.

While none have posed a public risk, opposition to the government's bid to vastly expand its nuclear industry has been growing, says the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul.

 

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 65.

    Lets seize the moment and get the UK back in Engineering and building a future. In 20 years the anti nuclear countries will be desperate, renewables at best will give 20% of the need, Oil & Coal will always be subject to international crisis. Modern designs produce mush less waste and are safer than the oil/coal. Uranium and especially Thorium is available for thousands of years projected use.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 64.

    #53
    That's rubbish. Modern nuclear is safe and reliable. Wind is expensive, ugly and unreliable.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 63.

    Typical nuclear station produces 1,000 megawatts per hour. That is the equivalent of 10, 000 wind turbines working 25% of the time as the wind only blows right for 25% of time.
    10,000 wind turbines would occupy about 240,000 acres or 375 square miles.
    A nuclear power station occupies about 1 square mile

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 62.

    When the wind stops it's necessary to switch to a conventional power station. These cannot just be "switched on" on demand - they have to be running already in the background. The "balanced energy mix" is fashionable nonsense.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    No 53. Do some very simple sums. How many windmills will it take to replace one nuclear power station. Then allow for the fact that the wind not blowing strong enough all the time so you will need some redundancy. Now work out how much land it would take to site these windmills. A viable and practical solution - I doubt it. I wish people would understand the science before giving crazy solutions

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 60.

    #57 The best estimate of people who died as a result of radiation exposure from Chernobyl was about 4000 (World Health Organisation), and yes, I was counting them. For reference I was using the numbers of deaths from falls of 3500 per year that the NHS got in 2009, and just pointing out that despite the panic people get into when you mention radiation

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 59.

    @25.Adrian M Lee

    This is not a nuclear issue per se. This is a process issue of certification and an administration error.

    However, as we can see from this HYS, it hasn't stopped the 'Knit Your Own Sandals Brigade' recycling blah blah blah...
    ==

    I'm no sandalista, but surely it has not escaped you that this particular "administration error" could have had very serious consequences.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 58.

    1 typical

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 57.

    Acrid forgets that thousands, if not tens of thousands of people died as a result of cancers and other radiation related issues after the Chernobyl disaster. It is true that major nuclear disasters are rare but the effects of those that happen are massive and sometimes conveniently unrecorded.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 56.

    I would not like to be without power there. It's bitterly cold in South Korea in winter. Still they could turn off all those neon lights, that would probably save a bit of energy.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 55.

    @13.bob
    ...Remember, this is Britain, not the South of France, so solar wouldn't work all the time.
    ==
    I have a house in Portugal with a large solar panel on the roof. Even this only heats water for showers etc for 8 months a year.

    Forget any ideas of heating your house unless you have about 20 square miles of land to cover with panels. Completely impractical in Britain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 54.

    There is a very big difference between a real safety issue and the use of non certified parts and until we know where these parts have been fitted and if they have technical shortcomings we should not jump to the conclusion that these reactors are unsafe. Certification is largley a paper excercise coupled with testing and these parts could be perfectly safe to use. Stop over reacting

  • rate this
    -19

    Comment number 53.

    Nuclear is too unstable unreliable and ultimately, expensive

    A sad end to a once lauded industry but at the end of the day if you let monkeys play with fire it will always end in tears



    Meanwhile windmills whirr away cranking out power 24/7 and generating profits with the technology getting cheaper simpler and more reliable as experience grows

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 52.

    How long before another Chernobyl?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 51.

    #45 There is the difference between there being a risk and a significant risk. Based on your attitude we should also abandon any form of transmission, as evidence of a civilisation here could bring down an alien armada intent on genocide. That is a risk. It is not a significant one. More people have dies in the uk from falling over since 2010 than in all nuclear accidents combined in history

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 50.

    Green is a nice idea but until we have a green solution that provides as much energy, nuke is going to stay

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 49.

    If it can happen it will! The immediate and long term consequences of a nuclear accident in the UK too high to allow management of the probabilities of the hazard occuring. I do not understand why we are still using and promoting nuclear energy. Spend the money on alternatives such as coal with carbon capture and tidal such as the Severn Barrage.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 48.

    Sounds like South Korea also suffers from the Western "health and safety" disease. I bet there's nothing wrong with those reactors, it's money for the old boys network.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 47.

    By way of clarification, the outer steel-concrete containment structure of the UK's new fleet of PWR reactors is in fact designed to withstand the impact of both heavy aircraft & missiles. It is less clear about the outer structure of the BWR reactors that will now be built by the Japanese (Hitachi) at Oldbury & Wylfa.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 46.

    #40
    Not really. It won't account for future population growth or industrial investment. What about people wanting to build more houses, or grow more food. They aren't a credible alternative.

 

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