South Korea faces more closure of nuke plants

South Korea faces more closure of nuke plants

SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
South Korea faces more closure of nuke plants

Lee Un-Chul, Nuclear Safety and Security Commission chairman, answers questions. AFP photo

South Korea shut down yesterday two nuclear reactors and delayed the scheduled start of operations at two more, prompting government warnings of “unprecedented” power shortages.

Part of a widening investigation into a scandal involving parts provided with fake safety certificates, the latest move means 10 of the South’s 23 nuclear reactors are currently offline for various reasons.

“Power shortages on an unprecedented scale are feared this summer,” the Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry said in a press statement, adding that replacing suspect parts could take up to four months.
Blackout alerts, triggered automatically when power reserves dip below a certain level, were highly likely, while power shortages could be “very serious” in August, the statement said.

The ministry said it would “strongly” enforce measures to reduce energy consumption, including rescheduling working hours to stagger demand and limit damaging peaks. The ministry statement also said further criminal and civil lawsuits would be filed against those found responsible for forging documents.

At proper capacity, South Korea’s nuclear reactors supply more than 35 percent of national electricity needs.