Panel approves Gori reactor restart

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Panel approves Gori reactor restart

South Korea’s state nuclear safety panel on Wednesday approved the restart of an aged nuclear reactor that came under scrutiny following a power outage and attempts to cover up the incident.

After a near four-month safety check, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission declared the reactor at the Gori Nuclear Power Plant in Busan, 450 kilometers (279 miles) south of Seoul, is safe to operate.

“The safety commission has authorized the restart of the nuclear reactor whose operation has been suspended since March 12 after confirming the safety of the reactor,” it said in a released statement.

The commission had shut down the Gori-1 reactor after a belated report revealed the reactor, along with its backup generator, had temporarily lost power during a regular maintenance check in February.

The commission has since conducted an emergency safety check on the reactor, built and commissioned in 1978, also inviting an eight-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out a separate, independent examination even though neither the country’s nor IAEA’s safety regulations required such a move.

The incident also created enormous public concern, if not fear, over the safety of the reactor as its initial 30-year operational lifespan ran out in 2008 but was extended by 10 years. Such concerns were magnified by the continuing fallout of a radiation leak at the Japanese nuclear plant in Fukushima last year. Yonhap

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