nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Overriding public protests, South Korea renews license of second-oldest nuclear plant,

safety-symbol-Smflag-S-KoreaSouth Korea renews license of second-oldest nuclear plant, Japan Times, 28 Feb15  SEOUL – The South Korean nuclear regulator said Friday it renewed the operating license of the country’s second-oldest nuclear power plant until 2022, overriding the objections of residents and anti-nuclear groups.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said that seven of nine commissioners voted to restart the Wolsong No. 1 reactor located in Gyeongju city, 275 kilometers (170 miles) south of Seoul……..

South Koreans were sharply divided over the fate of the Wolsong No. 1 plant that had operated for 30 years until its license expired in 2012. Residents of Gyeongju and members of environmental groups staged protests near the nuclear watchdog’s office when the commissioners discussed the restart in three meetings since January.

The decision to restart Wolsong No. 1 could galvanize opponents and residents living in the areas of current and future plants, said Suh Kune-yull, nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University.

“I think there could be a backlash to the nuclear energy industry,” Suh said. “It will become increasingly difficult to extend the life span of other nuclear plants or to build new ones.”…….

Opponents of the Wolsong restart said the plant failed to meet the latest safety standards that came into effect after the reactor first went into operation, and that residents near the power plant want it shut down. …..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/27/asia-pacific/south-korea-renews-license-of-second-oldest-nuclear-plant/#.VPDfBXyUcnk

February 28, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is a hot political issue in South Korea

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, which has more than 40% of the seats in the national parliament, has taken a negative stance on the use of nuclear power. In 2013, the alliance specified a “zero-nuclear” goal in its basic policy.

     If the nuclear commission overturns the judgment about the safety of the Wolsong reactor, opposition parties and civic groups will certainly gather momentum.

ballot-boxSmflag-S-KoreaDebate heats up over aging nuclear reactor http://asia.nikkei.com/print/article/76444 KENTARO OGURA, Nikkei staff writer EOUL – Nuclear power is generating intense debate in South Korea.

At the center of the storm is the Wolsong No. 1 nuclear reactor in the city of Gyeongju, which is now offline as it reached the end of its 30-year design life. Some say it should be allowed to resume operations.

If its restart is not approved, the reactor will become the first such facility in South Korea to be decommissioned.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission has already delayed a decision on the issue twice — on Jan. 15 and Feb. 12. Attention is now focused on the South Korean nuclear watchdog’s next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 26.

The nuclear commission is acting on an application for an extension of the nuclear reactor’s operational life span, which was filed by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power.

Mixed results Continue reading

February 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Safety concerns may close South Korea’s Wolsong No.1 reactor

cyber-attackflag-S-KoreaHacking of Korea’s nuclear operator raises risk of aging reactor closures Yahoo News   By Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) 12 Jan 15, – The hacking of South Korea’s nuclear operator means the country’s second-oldest reactor may be shut permanently due to safety concerns, said several nuclear watchdog commissioners, raising the risk that other aging reactors may also be closed.

“The operator failed to prevent it (the hack) and they don’t know how much data has been leaked. If the old reactor is still allowed to continue to run, it will just hike risks,” said Kim Hye-jung, one of the nine commissioners who will this month review an application to restart the Wolsong No.1 reactor.

The future of Wolsong No.1, shut in 2012 after reaching its 30-year lifespan, is seen as critical to the fate of other reactors, including the oldest Kori No.1 which had its lifespan extended by 10 years to 2017………

Even those commissioners who deem the reactor safe think that other issues such as public pressure will likely influence their decision, which is expected in February at the earliest.

Concerns over nuclear power have grown since the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011 and revelations in 2012 of fake certificates for reactor parts in South Korea.

(Additional reporting by Sohee Kim and Brian Kim; Editing by Henning Gloystein and Michael Perry) http://news.yahoo.com/hacking-koreas-nuclear-operator-raises-risk-aging-reactor-070014531–finance.html

January 12, 2015 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Computer worm uploaded into South Korean Nuclear Plants

computer-worm-nukeflag-S-KoreaHackers Uploaded a Worm to South Korean Nuclear Plants  Adam Clark Estes  http://gizmodo.com/hackers-uploaded-a-worm-to-south-korean-nuclear-plants-1676378891  30 Dec 14 Here’s a scary thing that happened: South Korean authorities found evidence that a worm was recently removed from devices connected to nuclear power facilities. The news comes a little over a week after the country’s nuclear plant operator received warnings on Twitter that its network had been compromised. Thankfully, the reactor controls were not infected.

The specific details of the low-risk worm remain unclear. South Korea’s Energy Ministry says that the malware probably ended up on the nuclear power facilities through an unauthorized USB device. The reactor controls of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), the state-run utility affected, are not connected to any external networks. However, somewhat surprisingly, Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick told parliament that the worm was not connected to the other hacking incidents, a claim that “[drew] skepticism from some lawmakers,” according to Reuters. Either way, the worm and them hacks do not reflect well on the state of South Korea’s cybersecurity.

This is an especially worrisome attack in South Korea, since a third of the country’s power comes from nuclear reactors. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that North Korea is to blame, and KHCP is beefing up its cybersecurity staff from 53 to 70. That still seems like a small number of people to guard 23 nuclear reactors, huh? [Reuters]

December 31, 2014 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

Three South Korean workers died after accident at nuclear plant construction site

South Korea workers die at nuclear plant site, Sky News 27 Dec 14  Three South Korean workers have died after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea’s monopoly nuclear power company, which has come under recent threats by hackers.

The accident at the construction site in the southeastern city of Ulsan came as the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co was on high alert over a series of threats by hackers who claim they can disable the control systems of its plants.

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/asiapacific/2014/12/27/south-korea-workers-die-at-nuclear-plant-site.html#sthash.ZUm6GETo.dpuf

December 27, 2014 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea wants China’s help to investigate hacking attempts on nuclear power company

flag-S-KoreaKorea calls on China for help following hack attempt on nuclear power company IP address used in the hack traced to city on China-North Korea border. Ars Technica by  – Dec 24 2014

Last week, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, which runs South Korea’s 23 nuclear plants, suffered a security breach in which personnel records, public health monitoring data, and reactor designs were obtained from the company’s systems and posted online. The attacker, which linked to the materials on an anti-nuclear activist site, also threatened to release further information unless three of the company’s plants were shut down by tomorrow.

Now, Korean investigators have identified a Chinese IP address as the source of the attacks and are asking the Chinese government for assistance in the investigation.

According to a report in The Korea Times, the attacks were routed through three different VPN service providers in the US, Japan, and Korea. By obtaining these records, the initial IP address that launched the attack were traced to the city of Shenyang, which is on the China-North Korea border.An article from Australia’s ABC indicates that this city hosts one end of North Korea’s main Internet connection to the outside world, which was severed earlier this week.

A number of sources confirm that South Korea has asked for China’s assistance in the matter and quote an unnamed official as saying the country isn’t pointing the finger at its neighbor: “There is a possibility that the IP addresses in China are not the final source but used in a routing.” But suspicion isn’t directed at China itself; rather, it’s suspected that North Korean agents were using the Chinese city for their activities……..http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/12/korea-calls-on-china-for-help-following-theft-from-nuclear-power-company/

December 26, 2014 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

Hacker got into South Korea’s nuclear plant computers

computer-spy-nukeflag-S-KoreaSouth Korea nuclear plant hit by hacker,  , c/net 23 Dec 14 The hacking comes in the wake of increased tension and trouble from North Korea, though the source has not been confirmed. Computers at a nuclear power plant in South Korea have been compromised by a hacker, but the plant’s operator says no critical data has been leaked.

The hacker was able to access blueprints, floor maps and other information on the plant, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday. Using a Twitter account called “president of anti-nuclear reactor group,” the hacker has released a total of four postings of the leaked data since December 15, each one revealing internal designs and manuals of the Gori-2 and Wolsong-1 nuclear reactors run by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), Yonhap added. The hacker has threatened to leak further information unless the reactors are shut down…………..

Government officials looking into the incident were able to trace the hacker’s IP address to a PC located in a specific location, Yonhap said. Investigators have been sent to the location as well as to the plant’s reactors to probe further. http://www.cnet.com/au/news/south-korea-nuclear-plant-hit-by-hackers/

December 24, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear waste problem

Dealing with nuclear waste in South Korea The Korea Herald/Asia News Network December 21, 2014,The much awaited nuclear waste facility in Gyeongju will begin operations next year following final approval by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission last week. The Wolseong Low and Intermediate-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Center, consisting of six silos some 80 meters underground, can hold up to 100,000 barrels of radioactive waste.

A second-phase construction is underway to add a 125,000-barrel holding unit to the site, which is designed to store 800,000 barrels of nuclear waste over the next 60 years before it is sealed off.

A total of 23 nuclear reactors are responsible for about one-third of all power generated in Korea and produce 2,300 barrels of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste each year.

The country’s first low- and intermediate-level radioactive repository was realized some 28 years after the country started looking for a site. Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, was selected in 2005 after votes in four candidate cities. Almost 90 percent of voters in Gyeongju approved of the facility.

To win over communities that did not want a hazardous waste facility in their midst, the government promised 300 billion won in community support. The local community would also receive annual fees in addition to the initial grant.

The Gyeongju facility is just the first step. The country has yet to draw up a plan for dealing with the growing piles of spent nuclear fuel rods. Some 750 tonnes of spent fuel are produced each year by the country’s 23 nuclear power reactors.

Currently, spent fuel rods are stored temporarily on the reactor site pending the building of a centralized storage facility. About 13,250 tonnes were stored in different nuclear reactor sites as of end-2013 and it is estimated that the sites will become full incrementally between 2016 and 2038.

The Public Engagement Commission of 15 nuclear experts, academics, city council members and a representative of an environmental watchdog group was formed last year to engage the public in discussions about the spent nuclear fuel issues so that their opinions could be incorporated into policy decisions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is expected to draw up a plan for disposing of spent fuel based on recommendations by the commission.

So far, the commission has released an interim report suggesting that a permanent disposal facility must be completed by 2055. It has not said where it could be built or what type of storage could be employed. The commission, in the meantime, has extended its mandate to June 2015.

The Gyeongju site for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste took 28 years to complete. A facility for the more hazardous spent fuel rods will be much more controversial. Hence, the building of a permanent storage site for spent nuclear fuel rods is an urgent matter that requires immediate government attention…….http://www.chinapost.com.tw/commentary/the-china-post/special-to-the-china-post/2014/12/21/424512/Dealing-with.htm

 

December 22, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Ineffective parts in 14 South Korean nuclear reactors

’14 reactors have ineffective parts’ http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/12/116_169248.html

Greenpeace sounds alarm over nuclear disaster By Jung Min-ho

Components in 14 of the nation’s 23 nuclear reactors were made with an ineffective material, which could cause an environmental disaster similar to that which occurred in Fukushima three years ago, Greenpeace alleged Wednesday………..
“The most threatening thing about this problem is that it is completely unpredictable. It could result in a major disaster anytime without having any technical problems or a natural disaster,” Jang said.

Suh Kyun-ryul, a professor of atomic engineering at Seoul National University, also said the government should take action immediately to address the safety concerns.

“Removing Inconel 600 from all nuclear power plants in Korea is much more important than planning safety measures for the risk of natural disasters to the plants,” he said.

The Fukushima nuclear meltdown has been estimated to cost up to $100 billion for the cleanup alone over the next 40 years, sending an alarming message to Korea ― a country that relies on nuclear power for 30 percent of its energy needs.

December 5, 2014 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Yet another safety bungle in South Korea’s nuclear power

safety-symbol-Smflag-S-KoreaBungling Nuclear Safety – Fire at Kori Nuclear Power Plant Goes Undetected for Over an Hour  Employees couldn’t hear audio alarm, couldn’t see visual alarm, Business Korea, 19 NOVEMBER 2014 Jung Yeon-jin

A fire occurred in the nuclear fuel storage facilities of the Kori Nuclear Power Plant located in Kijang County, Busan City, but none of the workers was aware of it for over an hour.

According to the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation, the fire occurred at 4:26 p.m., Nov. 11, at Kori Power Plant Unit 4, burning up a waste dryer along with some gloves and towels. It is assumed that the dryer overheated and started the fire while drying wet gloves……….

Power Plant Attempts to Cover Up Reactor Shutdown

But this fire is only the latest incident at the Kori Nuclear Power Station this year.

This past summer was a busy time for Kori Nuclear Power Plant, as Unit 2 was shut off because of heavy rainfall. On Aug. 25, a localized torrential downpour of over 100 mm per hour in Busan City resulted in rainwater infiltrating one of its annexes, and the corporation had to close the facilities.

At that time, the corporation covered up the incident by saying, “We shut down the facilities just in case, and this has nothing to do with the safety of the power station.” However, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission’s following report read, “The manual shutdown of the reactor was because of the malfunctioning of four of the circulation water pumps, attributable to the heavy rain.”

………….: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/7378/bungling-nuclear-safety-fire-kori-nuclear-power-plant-goes-undetected-over-hour#sthash.QmrLnwNv.dpuf

November 22, 2014 Posted by | incidents, South Korea | Leave a comment

Poor security of South Korea’s nuclear power system

safety-symbol-Smflag-S-KoreaMaking a mess of nuclear safety, Korea JoongAng Daily Nov 05,2014
Adding to the long list of scandals and mishaps in the nuclear reactor business, there was a serious security leak in 2012 and last year at two of the country’s plants. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, the security codes and passwords of 19 staff at the state-run Hanbit and Gori nuclear power stations were leaked to subcontractors.

The ministry conducted security checks on power stations across the nation following online media reports about the leak in September. It found that staff shared their log-in IDs and passwords for the internal computer system with subcontracted employees of radioactive waste management companies. Night shift staff should have escorted these people from outside during their work, but instead they gave their security codes away simply because they were lazy………

Nuclear power stations are a huge national security concern because of the apocalyptic consequences if they come under terrorist or other military attacks. They require stricter security and more vigilant safety management than other public facilities. But what the government investigation exposed was beyond excuse. The ministry and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power were not aware of the lax security and carelessness until the news report. ………http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2996911&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Conline

November 6, 2014 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea monitors products, very aware of nuclear radiation from Japan

text-radiationflag-S-Koreaflag-japanSouth Koreans Still Fear Radiation From Japan WSJ, 17 Oct 14 More than three years have passed since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, but some South Koreans are still leery over possible radioactive contamination from their neighbor.

Environmental activists and residents of Changwon, a city on South Korea’s southeastern coast, staged a rally Tuesday in front of a steel company to protest its import of scrap steel from Japan through a nearby port of Masan.

The protesters demanded local steel companies stop importing Japanese steel for recycling through seaports that aren’t equipped with radioactive detection devices, such as Masan.

“A case in August, in which imports of scrap steel from Japan were found to contain radioactive material and sent back to Japan clearly shows we’re exposed to a real risk,” said Park Jong-kwon, chairman of the Masan Changwon Jinhae Korea Federation of Environmental Movements.

Mr. Park said his group will continue to demand the government divert such imports to other ports until Masan has a radiation detection system.

Concerns have heightened after the Seoul government in August found some imported scrap metal from Japan bore traces of radiation and ordered the importer to return the items to Japan.

The protest in Changwon followed similar complaints earlier this week by a civic group in another port city of Gunsan, southwest of Seoul, that the country should stop steel imports from Japan.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said Aug. 11 that it had returned some steel scrap imported from Japan due to radiation contamination, the first returned shipment since Seoul heightened nuclear safety checks in 2012………

One of Korea’s industries hit hardest by Japan’s latest nuclear disaster was seafood as domestic sales of marine products plummeted following leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

Since September last year, the Seoul government has blocked all fishery imports from prefectures surrounding the Fukushima plant. http://blogs.wsj.com/korearealtime/2014/10/15/south-koreans-still-fear-radiation-from-japan/

October 18, 2014 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

No solution in sight, to South Korea’s mounting tonnes of radioactive trash

text-wise-owlflag-S-KoreaAs Nuclear Waste Piles Up, South Korea Faces Storage Crisis, Scientific American, 14 Oct 14 Among the usual commercials for beer, noodles and cars on South Korean TV, one item stands in marked contrast. By Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) – Among the usual commercials for beer, noodles and cars on South Korean TV, one item stands in marked contrast.

A short film by a government advisory body carries a stark message: the nation faces a crisis over storing its spent nuclear fuel after running reactors for decades.

The world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power has around 70 percent, or nearly 9,000 tonnes, of its used fuel stacked in temporary storage pools originally intended to hold it for five or six years, with some sites due to fill by the end of 2016.

It plans to cram those sites with more fuel than they were originally intended to hold while it looks for a permanent solution, suggesting little has been learned from the Fukushima disaster in neighboring Japan.

In the Fukushima crisis in 2011, the storage of large amounts of spent nuclear fuel in elevated pools posed a threat of massive radioactive release on top of meltdowns at three reactors. Spent fuel rods heated up after a quake knocked out water-cooling pumps, underlining the dangers of holding troves of radioactive material in relatively exposed cooling ponds.

“We cannot keep stacking waste while dragging our feet,” said Park Ji-young, director of the science and technology unit at respected think tank the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

“If we fail to reach a conclusion (on how to manage spent fuel), it would be time to debate if we should stop nuclear power generation.” With South Koreans still spooked by Fukushima and a scandal at home over fake safety certificates for nuclear equipment, the commission has its work cut out to come up with more than a temporary fix to the storage crunch in a report due by year-end………..

OUT OF FAVOR

A permanent solution remains elusive, Continue reading

October 15, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

South Korea desperately buying time, as another 750 tonnes add yearly to its nuclear waste stack

any-fool-would-know

 

 

it’s really stupid to just keep on making the stuff

As Nuclear Waste Piles Up, South Korea Faces Storage Crisis, Scientific American, 14 Oct 14“……….The 23 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy add a total of 750 tonnes of spent fuel every year to the 13,300 tonnes that filled 71 percent of its wet and dry storage capacity as of last year, according to reactor operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd, owned by state-run Korea Electric Power Corp.

That means storage could fill by 2021, with some pools in danger of reaching capacity by the end of 2016.

Seoul hopes to win time by stacking spent fuel more densely in those concrete-covered pools next to reactor buildings, and by moving waste to pools at 11 new power plants that are set to be built by 2024.

But experts warn that leaving spent fuel in water could be fraught with danger, even in a country that is not anywhere near as seismically active as Japan. They note that the buildings that house pools are typically not as strong as those that hold reactors, which have steel vessels inside concrete domes.

“Spent fuel in a concrete building next to reactor buildings is vulnerable to missile or other attacks from the outside,” said one expert, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

He said that stacking fuel more densely would compound any risk as it would reduce air circulation.

“Air circulation helps lower chances of spent fuel meltdown if water drains or water-cooling pumps are broken when hit by natural disaster or terror attack.”http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-nuclear-waste-piles-up-south-korea-faces-storage-crisis/

 

October 15, 2014 Posted by | South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear unsafety – 684 Accidents and Failures over 37 Years

computer-spy-nukeflag-S-KoreaKorean Nuclear Power Plants Exposed to 1,843 Hacks over Five Years-  Business Korea   10 OCTOBER 2014The number of hacking attempts against nuclear power plants in Korea was found to have reached 1,843 during the last five years. Experts are calling for special cybersecurity measures for nuclear power stations under the circumstances

…..684 Accidents and Failures over 37 Years

With the situation as it is, the general public’s concerns over aging nuclear power plants as well as hacking attempts are on the rise. The total number of nuclear power generation accidents and breakdowns in Korea has reached 684 since the commercial operation of Gori 1 back in 1978. Out of those, 130 have happened in the oldest facility.

“The government is just repeating that nuclear power generation is a safe way of power supply,” Democratic United Party lawmaker Moon Byung-ho explained, continuing, “However, it would be well advised to reexamine its safety, security, sustainability, and economic advantages by taking this as an opportunity and shutting down the oldest nuclear power stations for a paradigm shift.”  http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/article/6718/security-unawareness-korean-nuclear-power-plants-exposed-1843-hacks-over-five-years#sthash.iaBiCo9G.dpuf

October 11, 2014 Posted by | safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

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