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Saturation of Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facilities Likely to be Reached Earlier than Planned
Due to Cancellation of Planned Nuclear Power Plants
Saturation of Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facilities Likely to be Reached Earlier than Planned
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • February 25, 2020, 09:14
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Units 3 and 4 of Shin Hanul Nuclear Power Plant

The Korea Radioactive Waste Agency said in its report on Feb. 23 that the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant’s spent nuclear fuel storage facilities, which have a capacity of 9,797 spent nuclear fuel bundles, would reach saturation in July 2030, when the amount of its spent nuclear fuel is estimated to reach 9,826 bundles.

The agency explained that the saturation is likely to be reached seven years earlier than previously planned. This is because the South Korean government canceled the construction of the third and fourth units of the power plant, which were planned to be built with temporary storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel. Experts point out that the government is adding to uncertainties in relation to nuclear power plant operation.

Spent nuclear fuel is high-level radioactive waste lethal to humans and the power plant must be stopped once the saturation is reached. The agency pointed out that discussions are urgently required on how to manage the spent nuclear fuel in the power plant.

Four years ago, the government came up with a plan on how to manage high-level radioactive waste. According to the plan, permanent disposal sites outside nuclear power plants were scheduled to be selected by 2028 and built by 2052. However, the plan was canceled in 2017 and a committee was established to review the issue from scratch.