South Korea: Nuclear safety watchdog approves operation of new nuclear plant
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission of South Korea on Friday gave a conditional approval for the operation of a new nuclear power plant, after one year of its completion, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.
The approval has been given for the 1,400-megawatt Shin-Hanul No 1, located in the coastal county of Uljin. Yonhap reported the reactor was completed in April but has been non-functional amid a drawn-out safety review, which had started in November 2020.
The South Korean government ramped up its scrutiny regarding the safety of atomic reactors as it aims to reduce the country’s dependency on nuclear energy.
The need for the system to strengthen the safety measures comes in the backdrop of hydrogen explosions reported during Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.
The nuclear safety watchdog’s review has looked into an array of safety issues, including the plant’s passive autocatalytic recombiner (PAR), which is designed to prevent hydrogen explosions, Yonhap further said, adding Shin-Hanul’s PAR system faced intense scrutiny after environmental groups pointed out that its effectiveness was exaggerated.
However, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp, which created the plant, said that there was no problem with the system.
The South Korean government plans to reduce nuclear energy to account for 23.9 per cent of the total power generation by 2030 from around 30 per cent in 2020.
According to the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp, South Korea has 24 nuclear power plants of which 16 are operational, with seven undergoing maintenances. The country is expected to have 28 nuclear reactors by next year.