APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Monday, November 18, 2013

South Korea: Restarts begin; nuclear energy use estimate rises

Some headway in digging out of the hole made by counterfeit parts and certifications, bribery, and influence peddling in the South Korean nuclear program is becoming apparent.  One of the reactors shut down during this time has been approved for restart, and there is evidence that replacement parts for others will check out.

Reuters has reported that Hanbit No. 2 (formerly known as Yeonggwang No. 2) will be allowed to restart after checks performed on welds in one of its steam generators.  South Korea's plants of the type derived from the Combustion Engineering System 80 design, obtained under technology transfer years back, have been known to experience premature steam generator tube wear

The plant noted in the link immediately above, Ulchin No. 4, was later mentioned in reporting by Chosun Ilbo in May 2012 as requiring a steam generator replacement.  An op-ed in The Hankyoreh published December 2011 tells us that 25% of the 16,000 steam generator tubes were damaged, and laments the fact "that this happened in just 28 months for a steam generator with a design life of 30 years." 

(It is interesting to note in the above linked article the willingness of the South Koreans to replace or perhaps, depending upon reports, completely retube essentially new steam generators, in light of the controversy that I keep reporting on here concerning new replacement steam generators at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.)

Reuters, in the same report linked at the top notes - in a separate issue -  that replacement control cables have tested satisfactory and can be used to replace those supplied by JS Cable.  This story is long running - see links below to previous Atomic Power Review articles for the background.

October 25 update - Cables fail tests, government sues, price fixing revealed

September 25 update - South Korean nuclear corruption investigation update

July 14 - South Korea's Corruption Scandal Widens in Scope

South Korea's Nuclear Energy Program - A Primer.  Atomic Power Review follows the early history of this nation's nuclear energy program, and then follows the development of the line of plants derived from the Combustion Engineering CE80 design obtained by technology transfer.

Energy for the future includes nuclear increase ...  Interestingly, it has been reported in the Korea Times that a new study by South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy now predicts a steady increase in the use of nuclear energy through the year 2035.  This works in slight contrast to the announcement from the government that a new target for nuclear generation that is less than a third of the total generating mix has been set, but is not inherently contradictory.  The plain fact is that South Korea continues, even in light of the nuclear parts and benefits scandals, to fine tune its energy mix for optimal performance and cost - in terms of the nation's industrial output and standing in the world, it has no intent of reversal.  Energy is king, and energy the nation will have.

11:00 AM Eastern 11/18/2013

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