Scandal hits South Korea nuke plants

2013-05-28 16:46
Nuclear plant.

Nuclear plant. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - South Korea has idled two nuclear power plants after finding that test results for crucial control cables were falsified in a new blow to an industry mired in a graft scandal and safety lapses.

South Korea's trade and energy ministry said on Tuesday a company contracted to conduct tests fabricated the results for cables that failed to meet international standards for capacity to withstand changes in voltage and pressure.

The cables control valves that are responsible for cooling nuclear fuel or preventing the release of radioactive materials during an emergency. Another four nuclear reactors that were either shut down for scheduled maintenance or under construction were also using cables that had failed the tests.

"If these control cables do not operate well during an emergency, we viewed that it would not guarantee to cool nuclear fuels or to shut off radioactive materials," South Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said in a statement.

It said the cables, which were in use since December 2011, failed nine of 12 tests pertinent to their operation in a "loss of coolant accident".

Public worries

Han Jinhyun, vice trade and energy minister, declined to name the company while the government's investigation is ongoing. The ministry will sue the company and also ask prosecutors to launch a probe, he told a press conference.

The revelations add to public worries about nuclear safety and power shortages during the summer when demand is at its peak. They are a new blow to South Korea's ambitions to export its nuclear technology.

In 2012, the South Korean nuclear industry was rocked by revelations that thousands of components used in nuclear plants had falsified quality certificates.

Dozens of employees at state owned nuclear power plant operator, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, were prosecuted for taking bribes from contractors to accept substandard parts and machinery.

The investigation into the cable problems began after the nuclear safety commission received tips through a whistle blowing channel that was set up in the wake of last year's scandal.

South Korea has 23 nuclear power plants which supply about 30% of its energy and plans to add another 11 reactors by 2025.

With the shutdown of the Shin-Kori No 2 and Shin-Wolsong No 1 reactors to replace cables, a total of 10 nuclear plants are now offline.
Read more on:    south korea  |  nuclear

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.