News Column

So. Korea: Nuke Plants had Unproven Parts

Nov. 5, 2012

Some suppliers for South Korea's nuclear reactors have provided unproven parts with fabricated warranties, a government minister said Monday.

Minister of Knowledge Economy Hong Suk-woo said there is no threat the parts could cause radiation leaks because they are used in places with "no direct link" to the safety of the reactor, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Hong said warranties for 7,682 parts worth $750,000 had been fabricated by eight suppliers since 2003.

More than 5,200 of the parts were used in five of the country's 23 nuclear reactors and nearly all of the types of parts had been used in two reactors at the Yeonggwang Nuclear Power Plant, located about 200 miles southwest of Seoul, he said.

Those two plants will be shut down immediately, the minister said, so their parts can be replaced.

Hong said for the parts to be proven safe the government would now require certification from one of 12 international organizations designated by Seoul.

Nine malfunctions have been reported at the country's nuclear reactors since the first of the year, but Hong said the breakdowns had no proven connection to the questioned parts.

The revelations could set back the government's efforts to export more nuclear reactors and weaken public trust in the energy source already shaken by the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan destroyed last year by an earthquake and tsunami.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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