Fake safety records for nuke plants date to 2003

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Fake safety records for nuke plants date to 2003

The government has discovered that certificates confirming the quality of parts for Korea’s nuclear power plants were fabricated over the past decade.

Kim Dong-yeon, minister of government policy coordination, announced the result of a comprehensive investigation into the nation’s 20 nuclear power plants, along with measures to root out corruption in the nuclear industry, at a briefing in Seoul yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s Office launched the investigation in late May after three nuclear power plants were shut down due to the discovery of faked certifications for parts.

According to the announcement, 277 out of 22,712 quality certificates issued over the last decade for 20 nuclear power plants were found to be fabricated.

And 2,020 out of 274,922 documents related to five new plants under construction and three plants halted this summer were forged. The investigation into the eight plants is 80 percent complete, Kim said.

Over the past 10 years, there have been 128 incidents in which nuclear power plants stopped operating due to faulty parts, the official added. Almost all of the devices or parts that were subjects of faked certificates have been replaced.

Prosecutors are also conducting an investigation of suspected bribery and corruption in the nuclear industry, Kim said. As of September, a total of 100 officials in the industry were indicted on charges of fabrication, bribery and other illegal acts.

Of them, 60 were officials from parts suppliers and quality certification agencies indicted for faking quality assurance documents. A total of 35 officials related to the government-run parts of the industry, including the former CEO of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, were indicted. In addition, a former vice president of Korea Electric Power Corporation and five more officials were indicted for receiving bribes to hire certain people.

“It is important to prevent further scandals and ensure the safety of parts being used in nuclear plants,” Kim said. “But what is more important is to overhaul the current institutional apparatus within the industry.”

In order to root out corruption, the government will prohibit re-employment of retired managers from one nuclear-related public corporation at another. If nuclear parts suppliers hire former employees of public nuclear companies and bid for projects or contracts they will be penalized.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]
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