Seoul zeroes in on nuclear dismantling industries

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Seoul zeroes in on nuclear dismantling industries

Korea will ramp up efforts to develop technologies related to nuclear decommissioning as the country’s oldest reactor is undergoing a lengthy, costly process of being dismantled, the energy ministry said Friday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy launched a consultative body composed of state-run utilities, construction companies and research institutes to put concerted efforts into developing a nuclear decommissioning industry,

The ministry said it aims to develop technologies needed to dismantle nuclear reactors by 2021 that will make such sites free of radioactive hazards and establish a research institute to pave the way for entering the global market by 2030.

Korea has 17 key technologies for nuclear decommissioning, while it hasn’t acquired 21 technologies related to decommissioning preparation, decontamination, dismantling, waste disposal and environmental recovery.

The tough task is gaining importance as the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power is preparing steps to decommission the Kori-1 unit, which was shut down in June following 40 years of commercial use.

It is one of 24 nuclear power plants in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, which are responsible for about 30 percent of the nation’s total electric energy generation.

“By taking steps to dismantle the Kori-1 reactor, Korea will have to upgrade the decommissioning industry’s capacity ranging from business management, technology equipment and professional staff,” Park Won-ju, a ministry official in charge of energy policy, said during the meeting with industry officials.

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