Another nuclear reactor goes down

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Another nuclear reactor goes down

A turbine at the Hanbit-3 nuclear power reactor abruptly stopped operating yesterday morning, reigniting worries about nuclear safety and power shortages over the coming winter.

The nuclear operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power said a turbine generator in the plant halted at 8:45 a.m., only six days after the Gori-1 reactor was suspended because a problem was discovered with the reactor. The operator stressed that there was no abnormality found.

“Since there is no problem in the reactor, the plant can resume operation after about 10 days of maintenance work on the turbine,” the state-run company said in a statement.

The plant is now operating at 30 percent of its normal capacity.

Currently, seven out of 23 of Korea’s nuclear power plants are out of operation. Three were shut down in the wake of a scandal over fabricated quality certificates for parts in late May. Another plant was halted because its design certificate was discovered to have expired. One is under maintenance work. Gori-1 was shut down Nov. 28

The total capacity of Korea’s nuclear power plants is 20.71 million kilowatts. With seven plants halted, about 6.26 million kilowatts aren’t being produced.

The 1 million-megawatt Hanbit-3 restarted operation in June after maintenance work.

Gori-1 also stopped 53 days after it resumed operations following a 76-day shutdown for maintenance.

Due to the idled plants, the government’s power production capacity hovers at around 78.9 million kilowatts currently, while peak demand for power this winter is forecast to reach 81 million kilowatts on the coldest days. There are early indications that this coming winter will be a cold one.


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