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KHNP chief resigns over safety of nuclear plants

Kim Jong-shin
Kim Jong-shin
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. chief executive Kim Jong-shin stepped down on Monday amid simmering criticism over recent power outages and cover-up attempts an atomic plant.

His resignation will be accepted by Cheong Wa Dae and the selection process for his successor will be under way soon, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said.

“I’ll try naming his successor quickly so as not to create a vacuum in the company’s operations,” Hong told reporters at a meeting.

The country’s sole nuclear plant operator has come under fire in recent months for recurring breakdowns and a recent cover-up of a brief blackout at a reactor in Busan, fueling concerns over power shortages and public safety.

Kim’s offer came a day after an emergency diesel power generator at an atomic plant in Yeonggwang, South Jeolla Province, was belatedly found to have malfunctioned during a special inspection. There was no damage or radiation leakage, but critics accused the KHNP of once again concealing the incident.

Kim, 67, took the helm of the state-run utility in 2007 after heading the Korea Western Power for the preceding three years. His second term began in 2010.
By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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