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1st Korean Nuclear Power Plant to Shut Down

Posted June. 04, 2007 06:16,   


Korea’s first nuclear power plant, which began operating in 1977, will shut down on June 9 after 30 years in service.

It will depend on the government’s decision at the end of this year whether the plant will continue operations for another 10 years or close permanently.

The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) announced yesterday that the first nuclear power plant in Gori, which started operations on June 19, 1977, would be closed on June 9 for overall maintenance work, since its designed life span (30 years) was at an end.

The KHNP reported to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on a safety evaluation conducted last June, saying, “The operation of the Gori plant will continue for another 10 years.”

This means that it will continue to provide as much electricity as 900,000 tons of oil, 1,320,000 tons of coal, and 660,000 tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) without safety problems during the extended operations for 10 years.

The plant is a pressure light water reactor with a facility capacity of 587,000 kilowatts, manufactured by Westinghouse of the U.S.

It has produced a total of 114.7 billion kilowatt hours for 30 years to tide over the “oil shock,” contributing to the industrial growth. Last year, it generated 4.767 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, which was the same amount residents in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province use for one year.

Since the plant was built, Korea’s nuclear power plant technology and operational know-how have made great strides in 30 years. The number of suspensions by malfunction of the first plant amounted to 6.6 per year on average until 1990, but decreased to 0.3 per year from 2001 to last year.

The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the KHNP are also moving forward with a plan to export Korean standard nuclear power plants (model OPR1000) to Vietnam, Indonesia, and South Africa.

The MOST is planning to reach a conclusion on whether the first plant’s operation should continue for another 10 years. However, it may trigger a serious controversy due to safety issues and negative public opinions held by residents and environment-related civic groups.