Operations to resume at three nuclear plants

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Operations to resume at three nuclear plants

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) yesterday decided to resume operations at three nuclear power plants that were closed down in May after it was discovered that they had been supplied with the substandard parts with forged safety certificates.

But the specific time frame for the resumption of operations is still a subject of discussion for officials from Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power.

The prolonged shutdown instigated concerns over possible power shortages, especially considering that more energy is consumed during the peak summer and winter seasons.

The combined capacity of the three power reactors - Shin Gori-1 and 2, and Shin Wolseong-1 - measures 3,000 megawatts.

The main parts in question were control cables, with the nuclear authority seeking to finish their replacement before the winter peak season.

In a recent report, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy cited the fourth week of January as having the highest energy demand during winter.

The report stated that Korea’s demand will hit a record high this year. It estimated it to be more than 81,000 megawatts, only slightly lower than its entire capacity.

Despite the resumption of the three power reactors, three others are still offline primarily because of maintenance issues.

An official of the nuclear commission, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the agency recently wrapped up its replacement of the faulty parts and subsequent safety checks. Government officials have been struggling to curb power demand ahead of winter amid cuts in energy capacity in the wake of the faulty parts scandal.

In the New Year, the authorities began cracking down on retail stores operating heating devices while keeping their doors open.

First-time offenders will receive a warning. If caught twice, shop owners who keep their doors open while running heating devices will face up to a 500,000 won ($472) fine.

If reprimanded a third time, they will be obligated to pay a 1 million won fine.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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