News / Asia

S. Korea Delivers New Assurance on Safety of Nuclear Plants

Despite this year's nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan, its neighbor South Korea is moving ahead with an expansion of its civilian nuclear industry. Not only is South Korea building more atomic power plants on its own, it is also increasing exports of its indigenous technology.

The disastrous setbacks to Japan’s nuclear industry and moves by other nations, such as Germany, to shutter all nuclear power plants have not dissuaded South Korea from expanding its atomic energy capabilities.

The country currently relies on domestic nuclear plants for about one-third of its total electrical output. It hopes to increase that to 59 percent in less than 20 years.

Younggwang Nuclear Power Plant, Uljin-gun, Gyeong-buk, South Korea, (undated photo).
Younggwang Nuclear Power Plant, Uljin-gun, Gyeong-buk, South Korea, (undated photo).

Meanwhile, after recent deals with such countries as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam -- cumulatively worth tens of billions of dollars -- South Korea could become a major exporter of nuclear energy technology and expertise. It is looking at striking deals for additional nuclear plants in China, Romania and Turkey.

After the meltdown of three reactors in March at Japan's Fukushima-1 nuclear plant, following a huge earthquake and tsunami, South Korea carried out a quick safety review of all of its reactors. Nineteen are online, two are offline for maintenance and seven more are under construction or planned.

The country's oldest nuclear power facility, built in 1978 was under special scrutiny earlier this year. The Gori-1 reactor, near the port city of Busan, was off line for two months after a fire in April destroyed one of the circuit breakers.

Gori-1, with an output of 578 megawatts, had originally been set to end operations in 2008, but was given an extended lease on life.

South Korea's Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Lee Ju-ho, says the public should be assured Gori-1, despite its age and previous problems, is not a hazard.

Lee says safety experts concluded after this year's incident it was still safe to operate the plant so the ministry decided to follow their advice and re-start the reactor.

South Korea says, in wake of the Japan disaster, it is enhancing safety measures at the existing nuclear plants in the unlikely event there could be a radiation leak resulting from a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a tsunami. The one billion dollars worth of upgrades will be done over the next five years.

Both South Korea and Japan are poor in natural resources and have mainly relied on imports of fossil fuels to power their economic development in the past decades.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid