Malfunctioning Korean Nuclear Reactor Worrying Local Residents

The 680,000kW No. 1 reactor at Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do has been shut down due to a malfunctioning component. The reactor, the design life of which expires on November 30 this year, malfunctioned just six months after comprehensive maintenance that lasted two years and three months, prompting controversy over its safety.

Local residents and environmental groups, however, are expressing concern over the fact that the No. 1 reactor malfunctioned six months after being restarted in July 2011 following major maintenance work that began in April 2009 and lasted for two years and three months, including replacement of pressure pipes and control computers.

The Korea Federation of Environmental Movements issued a statement saying, “Until this accident, the Wolseong No. 1 reactor has recorded 51 malfunctions over 30 years due to flaws in machinery and components, including radiation leaks, coolant leaks, and reactor shutdowns.

Local residents and civic groups have been demanding that the reactor be decommissioned but the government unreasonably restarted it in July last year.  Today’s shutdown is the result of that decision.”

Wolseong’s No. 1 reactor began commercial operation in 1983 and is the second oldest in Korea, approaching the end of its 30-year design life.


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