Nuclear power in Korea

Korea’s nuclear development has been robust and steady. The data shows an unplanned shutdown rate of 0.3 trips/reactor/yr and capability loss of 0.36% in 2009, the best record in the world. Its long-term energy plan entails increasing the nuclear installed capacity to 41% and nuclear generation to 59% of the total capacity and production by 2030.

The Korean government has maintained a consistent national policy for a stable energy supply by fostering nuclear power industries to offset the lack of other energy resources in the country. Nuclear power accounted for
31.3% of the total electricity generation in Korea in 2010 [MEST, 2010]. Since the commencement of the first commercial operation of Kori Unit 1 in April 1978, 21 nuclear power plants (NPPs) are commercially operating as of 2011 with an installed capacity of 18,716 MWe. Four units out of the 21 operating NPPs are pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) at the Wolsung site. The remaining 17 units, located at the Kori, Yonggwang and Ulchin sites, are pressurized light water reactors (PWRs) (Fig. 21.1). There are seven units (three units of OPR 1000, four units of APR 1400) under construction; in addition, six units are in the planning stage of construction.

All nuclear plants are operated by KHNP (Korea Hydro & Nuclear Co.). In addition to the domestic nuclear plant construction, Korea is building four nuclear units of Korean design (APR 1400) in the United Arab Emirates.

In August 2008, the government set out a plan to significantly reduce the nation ’s dependency on fossil fuels and more than quadruple the use of renewable energy by 2030. In addition, nuclear power will expand to account for 27.8% of total energy consumption in 2030 compared to 14.9% in 2007. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officially recognized the Republic of Korea’s nuclear transparency by approving the broader conclu­sion at the regular meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors held in June

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2008.

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