S Korea approves restart of troubled nuclear reactor

Government has vowed to stick to its nuclear power programme despite the Fukushima crisis.


Afp December 31, 2012

SEOUL: South Korea's nuclear watchdog on Monday approved the restarting of one of three reactors shut down for safety reasons, easing fears of power shortages during the harsh winter.

Half of the six reactors at Yeonggwang, one of South Korea's largest nuclear power complexes, were shut down in November, two of them to replace "non-core" parts that had been provided with forged quality and safety warranties.

"Today one reactor in Yeonggwang was allowed to come back into action," Shim Eun-Jung, spokeswoman for the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told AFP.

"Another reactor is expected to pass our safety checks soon for normal operation," she added.

A third reactor was closed after minor cracks were found during maintenance work on control rod tubes.

Although operators insisted there had never been any threat of a radiation leak, the incidents stoked safety concerns heightened by last year's nuclear disaster in Japan.

South Korea has 23 reactors nationwide, which generate around 35 percent of the country's electricity.

The government has vowed to stick to its nuclear power programme despite the Fukushima crisis, and plans to build an additional 16 reactors by 2030.

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