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Nuclear reactor breakdowns cost S. Korea 333 billion won

Nuclear reactor breakdowns in South Korea have cost the country 333 billion won ($299 million) over the past 10 years, a report by a state-run atomic power company showed Sunday.

In the report to the National Assembly, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said there were 89 malfunctions that caused reactors to go off-line temporarily from 2001 onwards.

The country currently operates 21 reactors that generate roughly 36 percent of the country’s power output. This makes South Korea the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy in the world.

Of all the malfunctions that affected electricity sales, 39 involved the six reactors at the Uljin station, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, while 25 stoppages were reported for the six reactors at the Yeonggwang plant on the country’s southwestern coast.

There were 14 and 11 cases of malfunctions, respectively, at the Gori and Wolsong plants, which have four reactors each. Gori is located in Busan, the country’s second-largest city, while Wolsong, near Gyeongju, is home to the country’s only heavy water reactors.

The New Gori 1 reactor that officially started commercial power generation early this month was not counted in the latest tally.

All malfunctions involved minor mechanical problems and mistakes committed by operators that caused temperatures and pressure of reactors and support equipment to exceed normal levels.

No radiation leaks or other serious problems have been reported, KHNP said.

(Yonhap News)

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