Malfunction Shuts Down Yeonggwang Reactor

      July 31, 2012 13:36

      A nuclear reactor at a nuclear power plant in Yeonggwang, southwestern Korea shut down on Monday due to a malfunction, causing problems in power supply during peak summer demand.

      The shutdown of reactor No. 6 led to a 1 million kW drop in electricity supply, but a major crisis was averted since energy-intensive major manfuacturing companies started their summer breaks this week.

      The reactor was shut down at 2:57 p.m., said a spokesman for state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. A preliminary investigation found possible problems in the mechanism that operates the fuel rods and related power supply system.

      The shutdown falls under level 0 in the seven levels of classfication for accidents or malfunctions by the IAEA and there was no threat of radiation leaks, KHNP said. Levels 0-3 are classified as malfunctions and levels 4-7 as accidents. Level 0 is considered still part of normal operation and has no impact on plant safety.

      The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety in Daejeon dispatched a team of experts to Yeonggwang to investigate the cause of the malfunction.The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, a presidential advisory body, will then decide whether to restart the reactor based on the results of probes by KHNP and KINS.

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