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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  • Comment number 125.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 124.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 123.

    118. Drunken Hobo

    Both a. and b. no doubt at all

    a) rely on a dwindling resource - so the public can be taken for every penny thay have as long as there is a drop left, artificially raising the price.
    b) As soon as it is covered up that it is actually free, leaving enough time to invent a reason to charge people. As long as humans are on this planet, there will be exploitation, and you know it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 122.

    #119
    Chernobyl was old in 1986 and wasn't a fine example of Soviet engineering.

    #107
    So, where do we put geothermal plants in the UK?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 121.

    Hydro Power the planet is made of water water is then reused with a shelf life of infinity. Lets stop nuclear destruction of planet.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 120.

    There is plenty of oil, coal, gas, yellowcake to sell and new oil fields to be found and profits to be made. Oil companies are selling oil not running power stations so they would have to switch to selling electricity which is not hard but if they used these technologies the word would get out and then every country and individual and cat and his dog would do it. Secret agents won't let them.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 119.

    Chernobyl was very clean wasnt it? I dont recall that being hit by tsunami's and earthquakes.

    This is proof positive that corners will be cut. Private contractors playing fast and loose with thousands of lives just for a quick buck. They never do that do they?

    More windfarms, more solar, more wavepower.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 118.

    114 Commonsense10a - I'm not sure if it's wise to indulge you, but if oil companies knew how to make cheap, reliable power from water, do you think they would:
    a) Cover it up and continue to rely solely on a dwindling resource.
    b) Exploit the $@*! out of it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 117.

    108 MoneyObserver
    If one works on load factor you need 500-550 turbines to match one Hunterston B Nuc Plant, using your area stats thats 36 Sq miles, the equivalent of 20 Hunderston B' s - 720 Sq miles and say 11000 turbines, ie 0.75% of the area of the UK. And that is assuming onshore turbines, the latest offshore turbines are over 5MW and will probably average 6.5MW each.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 116.

    #110 The question about the value of the area. The same could be said about any sort of power generation. I honestly don't know how exactly a comparison can be made objectively (by power capacity, per GWhr generated etc?) Also, do the byproducts of producing the generators count? (As wind has a fairly horrific footprint there), what about the most catestrophic failure modes?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 115.

    It shows a sensible attitude by S.Korea. I know if it were me, I'd rather be without power than run the risk of a nuclear accident. It does beg the question of contingency though. If all those who ran nuclear power stations globally had some sort of clean energy back up (with the mind of swicthing wholly to this) then surely the planet would be better off.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 114.

    @113. I have heard your failed argument from people like you more than a million times already. It does work. The thermodynamic laws are an incomplete work. You don't do it with ordinary electricity, you use a pulsed square wave with about 20k voltage and less than 5 amps. This is well known but supressed by oil, gas, coal, nuclear industries and secret government departments.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 113.

    #107 Commonsense10a - Are you REALLY suggesting using electricity to hydrolyse water to H2 and O2, then burn them to release energy? You think that this will release MORE energy than was used to create the gases in the first place? You obviously know absolutely nothing about the laws of physics and thermodynamics. It won't work!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 112.

    The nuclear problems are caused by greed, corruption and bad and simple design. Reactors should at least have multiple back up cooling systems. At least 3 backups, seperate and different cooling methods should be mandatory on each nuclear reactor.

    Anyway so much stupidity in this world with countries like Russia supporting murderous dictators in Syria for whatever reasons. Who cares it's 2012.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 111.

    Having spent two years in Korea as an on site rep I am not surprised that there are problem reported with the Korean nuclear industry. Korea is a country where quality procedures are just forms to be ticked regardless of the state of the product. With a culture based upon the teachings of Confucius nobody challenges if things are wrong.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 110.

    @106 While it is fair to say that Chernobyl only directly caused the deaths of 64 people, you are not taking into consideration the vast economic impact it had. Consider the large area of wheat fields which were made radioactive. Would you buy radioactive French wine? Mikhail Gorbachev has said it was perhaps the single largest contributing factor to the collapse of the soviet union.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 109.

    @drunken hobo..a good friend of mine and his wife support a charity that sends children to the uk from around Chernobyl.I have spoken to several of these children..and their stories are not the official ones..many children have health problems directly caused by what happened there and many are born with serious disabilities..Russia has never been an open book !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 108.

    re 87 Ian Anderson
    Ian, on your figures only 353 turbines needed to replace Hunterston B.
    Typical windfarms place turbines between 300 and 500 metres apart so they dont degrade one anothers performance.
    Taking the average of 400 metres, 353 turbines (square root 18.79) would occupy a square whose sides were 4.67 miles with turbines every 400 metres throughout the square- it would be daunting.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 107.

    HHO (Hydrogen and Oxygen gas together) from ordinary water made with high voltage and low amps creates plenty of power. Permanent magnet motors create heaps of power. Parabolic mirror arrays in fields or deserts create heaps of power. Geothermal creates heaps of power. Solar and wind power can be stored as weight in weight stations or as compressed air. The problem is greed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 106.

    Chernobyl is often brought up as an example of the dangers of nuclear power - I'd say it's an example of its safety. It was the absolute worst case scenario, yet it only directly claimed the lives of 64 people, with an estimated 4000 people in total succumbing to long-term effects.
    By comparison, the worst dam failure killed 171,000 people directly. (Not that I'm arguing against hydroelecticity).

 

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