Yeonggwang reactor shuts down

By Suk Gee-hyun
  • Published : Feb 28, 2014 - 20:23
  • Updated : Feb 28, 2014 - 20:23
A nuclear reactor at a plant in the southwest unexpectedly stopped operations on Friday, plant operators said.

The 950,000-kilowatt Hanbit reactor 2 in Yeonggwang, South Jeolla Province, shut down at about 10:50 a.m., according to Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. The operator said the exact cause of the stoppage is unknown, but it will not cause problem with supplying electricity.

“We’re looking into the cause of the shutdown and it’s not clear when the reactor will restart,” KHNP public relations official Lee Yoon-dong said.

The incident marks the second nuclear reactor stoppage in Korea this year alone, after the reactor unit 5 at the Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in Uljin stopped operations for eight days on Jan. 29.

The latest glitch is also the eighth suspension of a reactor in the past 12 months, during which a series of shutdowns were enforced over a fake document scandal involving nuclear power plants.

But the KHNP official declined to link the cause of the latest stoppage with the scandal.

In May 2013, it was found that several reactors had been operating with fabricated certificates for control cables, which are known to be crucial parts for reactors’ safe operations.

The discovery prompted the South Korean government to launch a probe into the case involving eight local suppliers, sparking public fears about power cuts during peak seasons of energy consumption last year.

South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors that supply about one-third of its total electricity needs.

Excluding Hanbit reactor 2, five are currently not in use ― four of which under regular inspection and the last awaiting a decision on extending its operational lifespan.

By Suk Gee-hyun and news reports