South Korea 21 November announced it will start construction on four new nuclear reactors, making a total of 11 new units planned by 2024. Nuclear power is an unavoidable choice, considering the nation’s poor natural resources, manufacturing-based economic structure, and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said in the statement.
The Secretariat at thePrime Minister’s Office said that the government agreed with Ulchin County to add Units 3 and 4 at Shin Hanul NPP. Another statement from the government said that the county of Yeongdeok had agreed to have two reactors. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), a subsidiary of state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) will implement the projects.
Six reactors are already in operation in Ulchin County, having started up between 1988 and 2005. A further two units are under construction at the nearby Shin Hanul plant and likely to begin operation by April 2018. With this agreement, KHNP can now prepare for construction of Shin Hanul Units 3 and 4, two more APR1400 reactors. For hosting the new plant, the county will receive payments totalling US$1.3 billion from KHNP over 60 years. Construction of new reactors will start in 2017 at the earliest.
Yeongdeok County in North Gyeongsang province in western Korea has also signed an agreement for the siting of a new two-unit plant. The county has been designated as a potential site for a nuclear plant comprising up to four large reactors for almost the past 13 years. For hosting the new units, KHNP will provide the county with US$250 million, mainly to be used for improving local infrastructure. Construction of the new plant could start by 2022.
South Korea, the world’s fifth largest nuclear power producer, currently has 23 operating reactors producing 20,650 MWe of electricity, accounting for about a third of the country’s total power generation. Last week South Korea’s nuclear regulator – the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) – approved the start-up of a new reactor.