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Nuclear safety commission OKs restart of Hanwool Reactor 5


SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- The country's nuclear watchdog on Thursday approved the resumption of a nuclear reactor shut down last week, offering a bit of relief over concerns of power supply shortages.

The Reactor Unit 5 at Hanwool Nuclear Power Plant, located some 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, stopped operating on Friday due to what appeared to be a problem with the unit's power generation system.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said the problem was caused by an erroneous handling of an air valve that caused the turbine generator to stop operation.

The resumption of the reactor with a generation capacity of 1 million kilowatts is expected to somewhat relieve the country's tight power supply conditions.

The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. has been struggling daily to maintain its power reserve at a safe level since the government shut down two nuclear reactors in late May for substandard control cables used in 2008 and in 2010 under fabricated quality certificates.

A preliminary power shortage warning has already been issued twice this week as the country's power reserve dipped to below what is considered a safe level of 4.5 million kilowatts.

South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors that are operational, but eight of them are currently undergoing maintenance or inspection, with the work to replace substandard parts in the two reactors expected to take up to four more months from now.

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