Nuclear plant workers shared codes

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Nuclear plant workers shared codes


The government confirmed yesterday that there was a serious security leak in 2012 and last year at two of the nation’s nuclear power plants.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, several Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) Corporation employees shared their IDs and passwords for the nuclear reactor management system with private subcontractors. The password sharing occurred at the Hanbit and Gori nuclear power complexes.

The ministry found that 19 current and former employees of KHNP shared their log-in digits for the central reactor management system between 2012 and last year, allowing subcontracted workers to voluntarily click buttons that permit reactor maintenance operations and move nuclear waste out of the reactor. Most of the waste that was moved was low-radioactive items like clothes and gloves worn by workers, but some subcontractors also dealt with reactor cooling water.

There are possibilities that more passwords were leaked, said the Energy Ministry’s audit and inspection team, because the KHNP system only stores access records for three days.

“The ministry will soon request a private digital investigator for a more sophisticated inspection of all system access data throughout that period,” said Song Yu-jong, director general of the audit and inspection division at the ministry, which carried out a two-week investigation in September. “Then, the ministry will decide on punishments if additional offenses are discovered.”

Song said a shortage of workers at the plants was the main reason for the ID sharing.


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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