Connect to share and comment

South Korea shuts down 2 nuclear reactors over forged parts, straining power supply

Minister warns of "unprecedented" power shortages.

koreanuclearEnlarge
South Korea today closed two nuclear power plants in the south after finding them equipped with thousands of parts that had fake certification. The discovery comes as closer attention is paid to safety conditions at nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis last year. Shown here, one of the sticken reactors of Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant during a press visit on February 28, 2012. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

South Korea today halted operations at two nuclear reactors after discovering some 5,000 parts used on site had fake quality certificates, reported BBC News, a move officials warned is likely to severely strain power supply in coming winter months. 

More from GlobalPost: Elephant 'speaks' Korean (VIDEO)

The parts in question were "non-core" and do not pose safety problems but the closure will make for an "unprecedented" power shortage there, knowledge economy minister Hong Suk-woo said, according to BBC

The two reactors are part of the 1978-built Yeonggwang nuclear complex, South Korea's oldest, which is located outside the southern city of Busan, said Agence-France Presse.

Hong said officials were also investigating allegations of collusion on the part of the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, said AFP, having been alerted by the May arrest of five of the plant's engineers on charges of attempting to cover-up potentially disastrous power failures there. 

The forged certificates related to products worth a total of 820 million won ($750,000), said CNN, their contracts dating to between 2003-2012. 

The two reactors are expected to stay closed until January so technicians can replace the parts, reported AFP, citing Hong as saying that if it takes them longer the nation will experience a "dramatic" drop in supply (an estimated 300,000 kilowatts compared to the usual 4.5 million kilowatts for January). 

The scandal comes amid heightened attention to nuclear power plants following Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis last year. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/south-korea/121105/south-korea-shuts-down-2-nuclear-reactors-over