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Hanul nuclear reactor resumes operation in eight days

   SEJONG (Yonhap) -- South Korea's nuclear safety commission on Thursday resumed the operation of a nuclear reactor in the southeastern region that was shut down eight days ago due to what has been identified as damaged parts.

   "It has been confirmed that the reactor had been shut down as two of the 73 control cards that operate control rods were damaged," the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said in a released statement.

   The Reactor Unit 5 at the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, automatically halted operations last Wednesday, soon after a warning signal went on.

   The commission said the two control cards appeared to have been damaged due to what it called a flashover, or ignition of combustible materials that may have found their way into the cards while they were being coated.

   It resumed the operation of the nuclear reactor with a power generation capacity of 1 million kilowatts at around 8:10 p.m.

   The reactor is expected to reach its maximum output at around 3 p.m. on Saturday, according to officials from the state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co.

   South Korea currently operates 23 nuclear reactors that supply about 30 percent of its total electricity consumption.