Another South Korean Nuclear Reactor Shut Down Due To Malfunction

Another S Korea nuclear reactor shut down due to malfunction (Platts, Jan 17, 2013):

Another South Korean nuclear reactor was shut down Thursday due to a malfunction just two weeks after two of three troubled reactors were restarted amid mounting electricity demand due to a prolonged cold spell.

No. 1 reactor at the Uljin nuclear power plant on the east coast, a pressurized water reactor with a generation capacity of 0.95 GW, halted operations at 11:19 a.m. Seoul time (0219 GMT) due to a problem with the reactor’s energy system.

The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, the state-run operator of nuclear power plants, said there was no immediate danger of any radiation leak. An investigation was currently under way to identify the exact cause of the problem, it said.

This is the second time in less than six months that Uljin-1 has been shut down due to malfunction. It has been operating since September 1988. The Uljin power plant houses five other reactors, which have been operating for between 12 and 30 years.

On November 5, two 1 GW nuclear reactors at the Yeonggwang plant on the southwest coast were closed for at least two months of unscheduled maintenance because they used parts supplied with forged quality certificates.

As electricity demand rose to all-time highs, the country restarted the two reactors late last month despite lingering concerns about nuclear safety. Yonggwang-3 has remained closed since October 18, when minor cracks were found.

The country’s nuclear reactors experienced temporary unplanned shutdowns more than 15 times last year due to malfunctioning equipment.

The state-run nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, has started conducting stress tests on all reactors to determine whether power stations in the future can withstand natural disasters.

South Korea currently operates 23 nuclear reactors, including two that are shut down, which supply about 30% of the country’s total electricity consumption. Coal and LNG meet 40% and 20% of power demand, respectively.

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