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

    Comment number 3.

    Nuclear power is one of the biggest threats to us and our planet. Every reactor is a bomb waiting to go off. With hundreds already built around the globe and hundreds more planned, the likelihood of another disaster gets even closer to 1 every day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    By far the worst thing we as humans have made. Dead birds, dolphins and whales? Harmless? You need to read the news globally to see the issues. Put 1 in the middle of london see how you like it.
    Science will destroy us all. Now with more storms ahead we need to think of other options like solar and wind and wave. Wake up people!

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 18.

    Britain is 'odd man out'
    Japan and Germany have closed many plants
    It only takes one accident to wipe this country out and the waste from previous nuclear work has not been made safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Nuclear is the future, low risk blah blah - all very well on paper and in board rooms but the reality seems far less palatable. Nuclear is the future disaster waiting to happen.


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