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Argument Ensues on Safety of Controlling Atomic Power Generation

Argument Ensues on Safety of Controlling Atomic Power Generation

Posted March. 08, 2002 09:10,   


Arguments related to safety are rising between Labor Unions and Government on the controlling rate of operation of Atomic Power Plants in order to optimize the change in total demand in connection with the strike of Korea Electric Power Industry Union (KEPIU).

Also, as operating atomic power generation should be reduced following reduction in electric demand, as weekend is near, therefore, a psychological war between KEPIU and Government is on a sensitive note.

▽ Amount of electricity supply that increase and decreases following the amount of supply-demand = Not only quantity of electric power is important but also its quality.

If demand decreases, supply should also decrease so that quality of electric power can be maintained constantly.

If supply is more than demand, precision machine gets damaged; on the contrary, transmission of electricity gets cut-off anytime.

The reason why KEIPU considered `alternate day holidays` on the first~third of March as the climax of success of strike is related to above.

KEPIU expected that government will throw in the towel, as it can`t avoid excess of supply, if it can`t reduce output of thermoelectric power plant, which is in charge of 60 percent of total supply of electric power, due to strike.

However, government unexpectedly responded to reduction of electric power demand by decreasing operation of atomic power generation.

Therefore, concerned `war on electric power` didn`t occur.

Electric power exchange, specific corporation that became independent from Korea Electric Power Corporation last April, said, “ power demand reduces 10 percent than common days on holidays, and the rate of operating Atomic Power Plant is degraded up to 3~5 percent following this.”

▽ Raising the risk of safety in atomic power plant = KEPIU urged,“as usual, power supply is produced by operating maximum atomic power and the rest by thermoelectric power or by complicated thermoelectric power, etc.” and “ it is extremely abnormal to degrade operating rate of atomic power by reducing power supply.”

KEPIU side, said too, “atomic power uses the most cheapest material, therefore it is economical as compared to other various power producing systems” and,“ government is responding, out of common sense, like making production expenditure high by reducing output of cheap atomic power, as it couldn`t secure manpower for substitution who are skillful in thermoelectric power.”

Kim Gook-Heon, chief of development department of controlling system for measuring atomic power pointed out, saying,“ in case rate of operation of atomic power drops under 20 percent, it can be unstable ” and “atomic power has demerits that it can`t control output fast, in comparison to complicated thermoelectric power.”

▽Government side explanation = Electric power that is supplied by domestic atomic power plant reaches 13,260 thousand MW as usual.

Electric power exchange delivered that there was no excessiveness in system during holidays from 1st ~3rd March, as atomic power plant didn`t generate 450,000~460,000 MW (3~4 percent).

Park Geon Cheol, professor in Seoul national university(atomic nucleus engineering) said,“ dropping operation rate within 75~80 percent is o.k. although sudden change in operating atomic power plant is dangerous” and “ it even makes sometimes low operation rate of atomic power plant for hours to 50 percent, in case of exceeding electric power.”

On the other hand, government and chairmen of 5 electric power plants presumed the loss, which was caused by not supplying electric power plants economically, is 500 million won per day and they will request compensation from KEPIU.

Jin Lee leej@donga.com