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Ex-vice energy minister named new head of KHNP

Cho Seok
Cho Seok
Cho Seok, 56, a former vice knowledge economy minister who was in charge of the nation’s energy policy, was named the new CEO for Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., the state-run nuclear power plant operator, in an interim shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

The corruption-scandal-hit KHNP has been in a three-month leadership vacuum since early June when its then-head Kim Kyun-seop resigned to take responsibility for the serial shutdowns of nuclear power plants over usage of substandard parts.

Industry watchers said that one of the imminent tasks ahead of the new KHNP CEO is to develop a reform plan to eradicate a chronic bribery chain formed between KHNP employees and nuclear reactor parts suppliers.

In the latest development, former KHNP CEO Kim Jong-shin, who led the nation’s first reactor export contract with the United Arab Emirates in 2009, was arrested by the Busan District Prosecutor’s Office over an allegation that he took more than 100 million won ($86,800) in cash from a contractor in exchange for business favors.

Under the new leadership, the delayed construction of two reactors ― Shin-Gori reactor unit 5 and 6 ― is also expected to resume this year.

The new KHNP CEO will start working from next week after his appointment by President Park Geun-hye, KHNP said.

Cho, a lifelong bureaucrat, graduated from Seoul National University with a major in diplomacy in 1981 and received his Ph.D. in economics from Kyung Hee University in 2007.

By Seo Jee-yeon (
Korea Herald Youtube