Korea, the world’s fifth largest producer of nuclear energy, has raised its dependency on nuclear power having recently started the commercial operations of its 24th nuclear reactor.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, the nation’s nuclear reactor operator, said the Shin-Wolsong nuclear reactor unit 2 with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts commenced its full-scale operations last Friday within the Wolseong nuclear power plant complex, located in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province.
The complex is located about 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
The reactor’s start of the commercial operations followed an eight-month test run.
“The new reactor expands the combined power generation capacity of nuclear reactors here to 22.5 percent of the total,” KHNP said in a press release.
The reactor is one of the two optimized power reactor-1000 reactors with the Shin-Wolsong nuclear reactor unit 1 in the same complex, which started its commercial operations in 2012.
The OPR-1000 is a rebranded version of the Korean standard nuclear power plant, based on technology from the nation’s original eight pressurized light water reactors. The reactor was developed to tap Asian markets, specifically, Vietnam and Indonesia.
KHNP has invested 5.3 trillion won ($4.6 billion) to build the two OPR-1000 reactors for the past year.
In a bid to protect them from natural disasters, the KHNP said it has strengthened safety measures for Shin-Wolsong nuclear reactor unit 1 and unit 2 since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
“The two reactors present the prowess of nuclear power plants based-on home-grown technology to the world,’’ a KHNP official said.
The country is building 10 other reactors, with a plan to build an additional two by 2029.
The expansion of nuclear power is included in the seventh “basic plan for long-term electricity supply and demand,” which covers the period between 2015 and 2029.
The Energy Ministry had developed the biannual power supply plan to set the energy mix of the country’s power sources by 2029.
Under the plan, Korea will seek more power generation from nuclear reactors, while reducing dependency on coal-fired power plants.
By Seo Jee-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org