Nuclear Reactor Remains Idle Due to Parts Problem

      December 01, 2011 11:57

      Nuclear reactor No. 4 at the Uljin power plant, which has been shut down for regular maintenance since September, will not be able to restart until April of 2012 due to serious damage to one of its parts. The reactor was originally scheduled to resume operations after Oct. 15.

      As a result, the reactor will not supply crucial power this winter, when electricity consumption is expected to reach record levels.

      Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power on Wednesday said it is repairing heat transfer pipes in the steam generator, which suffered more damage than expected. The No. 4 reactor contains around 16,000 heat transfer pipes. They are inspected during regular maintenance every year, and this time around 3,800 showed signs of erosion.

      "An alarm goes off if even a small amount of radioactive water vapor is released," a KHNP spokesman said. "There are no problems with the safety of the reactor."

      KHNP believes the problem stems from the composition of the heat transfer pipes and is considering replacing them in 2013, three years ahead of schedule. Yoo Kook-hee, an official with the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said, "We could bring forward the replacement of the steam generator as soon as we identify the source of the problem later this month."

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