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N. Korea power plant partly collapsed soon after inauguration

N. Korea power plant partly collapsed soon after inauguration

Posted May. 12, 2016 07:42,   

Updated May. 12, 2016 08:11

Mount Paekdu Youth Hero Power Plant 3, which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, picked as achievement from "70-day combat," reportedly had leaks soon after its inauguration, causing the operator to hurriedly release water.

Satellite photos of the power plant, which The Dong-A Ilbo acquired through the South Korean authority, show signs of water leaks with cracks at multiple parts on the dam. Some other parts also have cracks on the dam’s wall, while other sections have partially collapsed. Images also include scenes of North Koreans hurriedly draining water through spillway of the hydro power dam. The satellite photos were taken on Sunday, while the North Korean Workers’ Party Congress was taking place.

In October last year, Kim Jong Un instructed his government, “Party Central (referring to himself) orders unconditional completion of Mt. Paekdu Youth Hero Power Plant 3 by Youth Day (August 28) next year.” However, as the "70-day combat" was staged ahead of the party congress, the Paekdu Youth Hero Power Plant 3 was inaugurated on April 28 by advancing the construction schedule by as many as four months.

Questions were raised over the possibility of sloppy construction work, since workers placed concrete amid bitter cold of minus 30 degrees Celsius in winter, and worked manually without proper construction equipment.

In his general reporting on all projects for the Central Committee at the Workers’ Party Congress that happened on Friday and Saturday last week, Kim Jong Un said, “Our youth has successfully constructed wonderful Mt. Paekdu Youth Hero Power Plant, a mission that was entrusted by the party, and thus demonstrated Korean youth’s invincible spirit and the power of self-reliance and strenuous efforts to the whole world,” in promoting the construction of Paekdu Youth Hero Power Plant 3 as achievement from "70-day combat." As a result, watchers predict the North Korean leader could take disciplinary action against those responsible for sloppy construction of the power plant.

In separate incidents, Mt. Paekdu Power Plants 1 and 2, which were completed in October last year, also had leaks and collapsed waterway. Choe Ryong Hae, who spearheaded the project, had to take revolution education to take responsibility in November last year, before returning.

우경임기자 woohaha@donga.com