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Multiple Nuclear Reactors Stopped in South Korea
Raising Safety Concerns
Multiple Nuclear Reactors Stopped in South Korea
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • September 9, 2019, 10:32
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Shin-Wolsong Unit 2 located in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province

The safety of nuclear power generation in South Korea is being called into question with nuclear power plants allowed to be put back into operation stopping one after another.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power announced on Sept. 7 that Shin-Wolsong Unit 2, a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of one million kilowatts, stopped operating at 9:44 p.m., Sept. 6 as one main water supply pump stopped during a reactor test and caused a decrease in steam generator water level.

The reactor was put back into operation at 8:45 a.m., Sept. 6 after planned preventive maintenance. However, it stopped in approximately 13 hours with the pump stopping at an output level of 30 percent. Detailed causes of the accident are yet to be found out.

“The reactor is currently stable and the environmental radiation of the stoppage is zero,” Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power explained, adding, “Necessary measures will be taken based on the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission’s inspections.” The commission is going to look into the reactor by sending a team from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety.

Four months ago, the first unit of the Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant stopped the day after a re-operation approval. The unit was manually stopped during its regular maintenance on May 10 due to a surge in thermal output. Later, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission concluded that the accident was caused by a reactor operator’s mistake and procedural violation.

Earlier, on Jan. 24, the second unit of the same power plant automatically stopped after the commission’s re-operation approval on Jan. 22. The commission said that the stoppage was because an operator failed in water level adjustment during manual steam generator operation.