The nuclear power plant in Yeonggwang, South Jeolla Province. (Yonhap News)
A government nuclear watchdog has approved the resumption of a long-suspended nuclear power plant, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Sunday, providing some relief to the nation struggling with a power shortage amid the sizzling summer heat wave.
According to the ministry, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission approved the re-operation of the Hanbit Reactor 3 in Yeonggwang in the southwestern province of South Jeolla as its months-long repair works have been completed.
Following the re-operation approval issued at 1 p.m. Sunday, the Hanbit Reactor 3 will return to operation at 4 p.m. Monday, officials at the ministry said.
The Hanbit Reactor 3 went into repair in November last year after some cracks were found in its control rod.
South Korea has been struggling with a lingering power shortage, after it halted the operation of two nuclear reactors while delaying the scheduled operation of two other reactors due to substandard parts.
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission shut down the Shin-Kori Reactor 2 and Shin-Wolsong Reactor 1 in late May after learning that substandard control cables that had been supplied under fake quality warranties had been used in the reactors.
The country last week issued a warning for a possible power shortage after its power reserve dropped to below what is considered a safe level. A level 2 warning was issued last Wednesday after the country’s power reserve fell to below 3.5 million kilowatts.
In a related development, meanwhile, domestic steelmakers said Sunday they will reduce their power consumption by about 1.06 million kilowatts everyday between Aug. 5-30. (Yonhap News)