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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

South Korea hoping to market their nuclear wares to Britain

Koreans target £10bn Welsh nuclear plant, John Collingridge July 23 2017,  The Sunday Times A Korean state-owned power giant is drawing up plans to buy a slice of a new £10bn nuclear plant in north Wales.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear export plans may now be in doubt

New York Times 12th July 2017, A decision by South Korea’s new president to scrap plans for more domestic
nuclear power plants will make it harder for the country to sell reactors
to buyers overseas, experts warn.

State-run Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) is building the first of four nuclear plants in the United Arab
Emirates in an $18.6 billion deal, and is scouting for more business in
Britain and other countries. But many nuclear experts doubt South Korea’s
ability to export a technology it is ditching at home after President Moon
Jae-in, who took office in May, said he would scrap plans to build new
domestic reactors.

South Korea is the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear energy and KEPCO, which has built more than 20 reactors at home, vies withthe likes of France’s EDF and Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit in the niche but
fiercely competitive nuclear export market. KEPCO’s international nuclear
project team is working to keep its export business alive. “We are
focussing on the UK market, but also on Saudi Arabia, South Africa and
Iran,” said Jong-hyuck Park, chief nuclear officer at KEPCO at a recent
industry event in London.

KEPCO is also in talks with Japan’s Toshiba to
buy a stake in Britain’s NuGen nuclear project, aiming to use its own
reactor design. “The company (KEPCO) aims to finish the due diligence
process by August or September…. and it will take more time to look into
South Africa,” said a source with direct knowledge of the matter who
declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to media.
NuGen, planned for Moorside in northwest England, was thrown into doubt
after Westinghouse declared bankruptcy and its partner in the project,
France’s Engie, pulled out. A KEPCO spokesman said the company is awaiting
government guidelines on nuclear exports.  https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/07/12/business/12reuters-southkorea-nuclear-exports.html

July 14, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea | Leave a comment

The international nuclear industry in financial meltdown

Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis, Jim Green, New Matilda, 9 July 2017 https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/09/global-meltdown-nuclear-powers-annus-horribilis/

This year will go down with 1979 (Three Mile Island), 1986 (Chernobyl) and 2011 (Fukushima) as one of the nuclear industry’s worst ever ‒ and there’s still another six months to go, writes Dr Jim Green.

Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small.

In January, the World Nuclear Association anticipated 18 power reactor start-ups this year. The projection has been revised down to 14 and even that seems more than a stretch. There has only been one reactor start-up in the first half of the year according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System, and two permanent reactor closures.

The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory ‒ 59 reactors are under construction as of May 2017, the first time since 2010 that the number has fallen below 60.

Pro-nuclear journalist Fred Pearce wrote on May 15: “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so. With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear ‒ existing power plants across the United States are being shut early; new reactor designs are falling foul of regulators, and public support remains in free fall. Now come the bankruptcies…. The industry is in crisis. It looks ever more like a 20th century industrial dinosaur, unloved by investors, the public, and policymakers alike. The crisis could prove terminal.”

Pro-nuclear lobby groups are warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

United States

The most dramatic story this year has been the bankruptcy protection filing of US nuclear giant Westinghouse onMarch 29. Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba states that there is “substantial doubt” about Toshiba’s “ability to continue as a going concern”. These nuclear industry giants have been brought to their knees by cost overruns ‒estimated at US$13 billion ‒ building four AP1000 power reactors in the U.S.

The nuclear debate in the US is firmly centred on attempts to extend the lifespan of ageing, uneconomic reactors with state bailouts. Financial bailouts by state governments in New York and Illinois are propping up ageing reactors, but a proposed bailout in Ohio is meeting stiff opposition. The fate of Westinghouse and its partially-built AP1000 reactors are much discussed, but there is no further discussion about new reactors ‒ other than to note that they won’t happen.

Six reactors have been shut down over the past five years in the US, and another handful will likely close in the next five years. How far and fast will nuclear fall? Exelon ‒ the leading nuclear power plant operator in the US ‒ claims that “economic and policy challenges threaten to close about half of America’s reactors” in the next two decades. According to pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Environmental Progress‘, almost one-quarter of US reactors are at high risk of closure by 2030, and almost three-quarters are at medium to high risk. In May, the US Energy Information Administration released an analysis projecting nuclear’s share of the nation’s electricity generating capacity will drop from 20 per cent to 11 per cent by 2050.

There are different views about how far and fast nuclear will fall in the US ‒ but fall it will. And there is no dispute that many plants are losing money. More than half in fact, racking up losses totalling about US$2.9 billion a year according to a recent analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And a separate Bloomberg report found that expanding state aid to money-losing reactors across the eastern US may leave consumers on the hook for as much as US$3.9 billion a year in higher power bills.

Japan

Fukushima clean-up and compensation cost estimates have doubled and doubled again and now stand at US$191 billion. An analysis by the Japan Institute for Economic Research estimates that the total costs for decommissioning, decontamination and compensation could be far higher at US$443‒620 billion.

Only five reactors are operating in Japan as of July 2017, compared to 54 before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. The prospects for new reactors are bleak. Japan has given up on its Monju fast breeder reactor ‒ successive governments wasted US$10.6 billion on Monju and decommissioning will cost another US$2.7 billion.

As mentioned, Toshiba is facing an existential crisis due to the crippling debts of its subsidiary Westinghouse. Toshibaannounced on May 15 that it expects to report a consolidated net loss of US$8.4 billion for the 2016‒2017 financial year which ended March 31.

Hitachi is backing away from its plan to build two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors in Wylfa, Wales. Hitachi recentlysaid that if it cannot attract partners to invest in the project before construction is due to start in 2019, the project will be suspended.

Hitachi recently booked a massive loss on a failed investment in laser uranium enrichment technology in the US. A 12 May 2017 statement said the company had posted an impairment loss on affiliated companies’ common stock of US$1.66 billion for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2017, and “the major factor” was Hitachi’s exit from the laser enrichment project. Last year a commentator opined that “the way to make a small fortune in the uranium enrichment business in the US is to start with a large one.”

France

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” according to former EDF director Gérard Magnin. France has 58 operable reactors and just one under construction.

French EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are three times over budget ‒ the combined cost overruns for the two reactors amount to about US$14.5 billion.

Bloomberg noted in April 2015 that Areva’s EPR export ambitions are “in tatters“. Now Areva itself is in tatters and is in the process of a government-led restructure and another taxpayer-funded bailout. On March 1, Areva posted a €665 million net loss for 2016. Losses in the preceding five years exceeded €10 billion.

In February, EDF released its financial figures for 2016: earnings and income fell and EDF’s debt remained steady at €37.4 billion. EDF plans to sell €10 billion of assets by 2020 to rein in its debt, and to sack up to 7,000 staff. The French government provided EDF with €3 billion in extra capital in 2016 and will contribute €3 billion towards a €4 billioncapital raising this year. On March 8, shares in EDF hit an all-time low a day after the €4 billion capital raising was launched; the share price fell to €7.78, less than one-tenth of the high a decade ago.

Costs of between €50 billion and €100 billion will need to be spent by 2030 to meet new safety requirements for reactors in France and to extend their operating lives beyond 40 years.

EDF has set aside €23 billion to cover reactor decommissioning and waste management costs in France ‒ just over half of the €54 billion that EDF estimates will be required. A recent report by the French National Assembly’s Commission for Sustainable Development and Regional Development concluded that there is “obvious under-provisioning” and that decommissioning and waste management will take longer, be more challenging and cost much more than EDF anticipates.

In 2015, concerns about the integrity of some EPR pressure vessels were revealed, prompting investigations that are still ongoing. Last year, the scandal was magnified when the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced that Areva had informed it of “irregularities in components produced at its Creusot Forge plant.” The problems concern documents attesting to the quality of parts manufactured at the site. At least 400 of the 10,000 quality documents reviewed by Areva contained anomalies. Work at the Creusot Forge foundry was suspended in the wake of the scandal and Areva is awaiting ASN approval to restart the foundry.

French environment and energy minister Nicolas Hulot said on June 12 that the government plans to close some nuclear reactors to reduce nuclear’s share of the country’s power mix. “We are going to close some nuclear reactors and it won’t be just a symbolic move,” he said.

India

Nuclear power accounts for just 3.4 percent of electricity supply in India and that figure will not rise significantly, if at all. In May, India’s Cabinet approved a plan to build 10 indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR). That decision can be read as an acknowledgement that plans for six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and six French EPR reactors are unlikely to eventuate.

The plan for 10 new PHWRs faces major challenges. Suvrat Raju and M.V. Ramana noted: “[N]uclear power will continue to be an expensive and relatively minor source of electricity for the foreseeable future…. The announcement about building 10 PHWRs fits a pattern, often seen with the current government, where it trumpets a routine decision to bolster its “bold” credentials. Most of the plants that were recently approved have been in the pipeline for years. Nevertheless, there is good reason to be sceptical of these plans given that similar plans to build large numbers of reactors have failed to meet their targets, often falling far short.”

South Africa

An extraordinary High Court judgement on April 26 ruled that much of South Africa’s nuclear new-build program is without legal foundation. The High Court set aside the Ministerial determination that South Africa required 9.6 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear capacity, and found that numerous bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements were unconstitutional and unlawful. President Jacob Zuma is trying to revive the nuclear program, but it will most likely be shelved when Zuma leaves office in 2019 (if he isn’t removed earlier). Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on June 21 that South Africa will review its nuclear plans as part of its response to economic recession.

South Korea

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years. President Moon said: “We will completely re-examine the existing policies on nuclear power. We will scrap the nuclear-centred polices and move toward a nuclear-free era. We will eliminate all plans to build new nuclear plants.”

Since the presidential election on May 9, the ageing Kori-1 reactor has been permanently shut down, work on two partially-built reactors (Shin Kori 5 and 6) has been suspended pending a review, and work on two planned reactors (Shin-Hanul 3 and 4) has been stopped.

Taiwan

Taiwan’s Cabinet reiterated on June 12 the government’s resolve to phase out nuclear power. The government remains committed to the goal of decommissioning the three operational nuclear power plants as scheduled and making Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025, Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung said.

UK

Tim Yeo, a former Conservative politician and now a nuclear industry lobbyist with New Nuclear Watch Europe, saidthe compounding problems facing nuclear developers in the UK “add up to something of a crisis for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme.”

The lobby group noted delays with the EPR reactor in Flamanville, France and the possibility that those delays would flow on to the two planned EPR reactors at Hinkley Point; the lack of investors for the proposed Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at Wylfa; the acknowledgement by the NuGen consortium that the plan for three AP1000 reactors at Moorside faces a “significant funding gap”; and the fact that the Hualong One technology which China General Nuclear Power Corporation hopes to deploy at Bradwell in Essex has yet to undergo its generic design assessment.

The only reactor project with any momentum in the UK is Hinkley Point, based on the French EPR reactor design. The head of one of Britain’s top utilities said on June 19 that Hinkley Point is likely to be the only nuclear project to go ahead in the UK. Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of SSE, an energy supplier and former investor in new nuclear plants, said: “The bottom line in nuclear is that it looks like only Hinkley Point will get built and Flamanville needs to go well for that to happen.”

There is growing pressure for the obscenely expensive Hinkley Point project to be cancelled. The UK National Audit Office report released a damning report on June 23. The Audit Office said: “The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s deal for Hinkley Point C has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits… Today’s report finds that the Department has not sufficiently considered the costs and risks of its deal for consumers…. Delays have pushed back the nuclear power plant’s construction, and the expected cost of top-up payments under the Hinkley Point C’s contract for difference has increased from £6 billion to £30 billion.”

Writing in the Financial Times on May 26, Neil Collins said: “EDF, of course, is the contractor for that white elephant in the nuclear room, Hinkley Point. If this unproven design ever gets built and produces electricity, the UK consumer will be obliged to pay over twice the current market price for the output…. The UK’s energy market is in an unholy mess… Scrapping Hinkley Point would not solve all of [the problems], but it would be a start.”

And on it goes. Hinkley Point is one of the “great spending dinosaurs of the political dark ages” according to The Guardian. It is a “white elephant” according to an editorial in The Times.

EDF said on June 26 that it is conducting a “full review of the costs and schedule of the Hinkley Point C project” and the results will be disclosed “soon”. On July 3, EDF announced that the estimated cost of the two Hinkley reactors has risen by €2.5 billion (to €23.2 billion, or €30.4 billion including finance costs). In 2007, EDF was boasting that Britons would be using electricity from Hinkley to cook their Christmas turkeys in December 2017. But in its latestannouncement, EDF pushes back the 2025 start-up dates for the two Hinkley reactors by 9‒15 months.

Oliver Tickell and Ian Fairlie wrote an obituary for Britain’s nuclear renaissance in The Ecologist on May 18. Theyconcluded: “[T]he prospects for new nuclear power in the UK have never been gloomier. The only way new nuclear power stations will ever be built in the UK is with massive political and financial commitment from government. That commitment is clearly absent. So yes, this finally looks like the end of the UK’s ‘nuclear renaissance’.”

Switzerland

Voters in Switzerland supported a May 21 referendum on a package of energy policy measures including a ban on new nuclear power reactors. Thus Switzerland has opted for a gradual nuclear phase out and all reactors will probably be closed by the early 2030s, if not earlier.

Germany will close its last reactor much sooner than Switzerland, in 2022.

Sweden

Unit 1 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden has been permanently shut down. Unit 2 at the same plant was permanently shut down in 2015. Ringhals 1 and 2 are expected to be shut down in 2019‒2020, after which Sweden will have just six operating power reactors. Switzerland, Germany and Taiwan have made deliberate decisions to phase out nuclear power; in Sweden, the phase out will be attritional.

Russia

Rosatom deputy general director Vyacheslav Pershukov said in mid-June that the world market for the construction of new nuclear power plants is shrinking, and the possibilities for building new large reactors abroad are almost exhausted. He said Rosatom expects to be able to find customers for new reactors until 2020‒2025 but “it will be hard to continue.”

China

With 36 power reactors and another 22 under construction, China is the only country with a significant nuclear expansion program. However nuclear growth could take a big hit in the event of economic downturn. And nuclear growth could be derailed by a serious accident, which is all the more likely because of China’s inadequate nuclear safety standards, inadequate regulation, lack of transparency, repression of whistleblowers, world’s worst insurance and liability arrangements, security risks, and widespread corruption.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, and editor of the World Information Service on Energy’s Nuclear Monitor newsletter.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, politics, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Trump-Moon summit – the focus was on trade differences, not North Korea

A Summit Without Fireworks Over North Korea, 38 North, BY: LEON V. SIGAL 6 JULY 17  Observers who expected fireworks at the first Trump-Moon summit meeting had to wait for the Fourth of July when North Korea test-launched what it said was an ICBM. Smiles rather than tweets marked the mood of the summit with both leaders determined to put on a public show of alliance solidarity and personal rapport. That display will now be put to the test in the aftermath of the North’s missile test.

The sharp differences at the summit came over trade, not North Korea, as US President Donald Trump made clear his intent to revise the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, focusing on automobiles and steel.[1] That demand could face resistance in South Korea…….

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

En route to Washington, President Moon spoke with reporters about a two-phased nuclear negotiating process, starting with a freeze on its nuclear programs. ……..

Furthermore, Moon did not back away from the need for a peace process in Korea. “With the nuclear dismantlement, a peace system will be established on the peninsula,” he stated.[7]And he made clear that economic engagement with the North would resume at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang with the onset of a nuclear freeze.

Sustaining Washington’s secret talks with Pyongyang will be critical to relations with both Koreas. ……..

the latest test-launch underscores how tougher sanctions by Washington and Seoul provoke Pyongyang to step up arming unless nuclear diplomacy is resumed and the North’s security concerns are addressed.

It’s time to stop acting as if the United States and South Korea have to talk to each other and not North Korea. http://www.38north.org/2017/07/lsigal070617/

July 8, 2017 Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea’s Kepco would rescue Britain’s Moorside nuclear project, but only with its own reactors

Kepco confirms talks with Toshiba over UK nuclear — but only with its own reactors, Telegraph   28 JUNE 2017   South Korea’s largest power company is in talks with Toshiba to prop up its plans to build Europe’s largest new nuclear plant in the UK.


Jong-hyuck Park, an executive from Kepco, confirmed the group’s interest in buying a stake of the embattled Moorside nuclear project on the sidelines of an industry event, but said Kepco would want to use its own reactor design.

The South Korean state-backed utility is one of the world’s strongest nuclear developers and has harboured an interest in Moorside since 2013. Its appetite for a UK nuclear project was revived following the collapse of Toshiba’s US nuclear business, Westinghouse, which was supposed to provide the reactor design for the project.

A deal with Toshiba, the last remaining group behind the NuGeneration venture, could rescue the £10bn project. But a change in reactor design would also derail the 2025 start date by at least two years in a further blow to the UK’s new nuclear ambitions.

Earlier this week a French newspaper reported that EDF’s internal review of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear plant is expected to show a €3bn (£2.6bn) overspend and a two year delay, which would also push the start-date back to 2027.

The slow progress in securing new investment in baseload power generation raises questions over the UK’s energy supplies in the middle of the next decade. More than two thirds of the country’s power generation capacity will have retired between 2010 and 2030.

Moorside was plunged into doubt in recent months due to the Japanese conglomerate’s financial woes which threatened to derail the use of the Westinghouse 1000 reactor and cost the project its junior partner Engie. ….

Kepco’s renewed interest in Moorside emerged the same day that South Korean president Moon Jae-in suspended construction of two of Kepco’s partially built nuclear reactors to consult on whether they should move forward.

The decision comes following Mr Moon’s pledge to stop building nuclear reactors, and rid the country of nuclear power entirely by 2060. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/28/kepco-confirms-talks-toshiba-uk-nuclear-but-reactors/

June 30, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Fall in South Korea’s nuclear shares. Kepco not now likely to buy out bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear

FT 28th June 2017, South Korea’s nuclear shares took a hit from the new government’s
anti-nuclear policy, a day after president Moon Jae-in decided to suspend
construction of two partially built nuclear reactors. Mr Moon said on
Tuesday the construction of Shin Kori No 5 and Shin Kori No 6 in Busan, the
country’s second-largest port city, would be halted for three months,
during which the government would seek views from the public on their
future.

Shares of Kepco, the state-run utility at the forefront of the
country’s efforts to export nuclear reactors, fell 1.8 per cent while those
of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, which is leading a consortium to
build the two nuclear reactors, dropped 4.4 per cent. The suspension of the
construction of the two reactors – wi th about one-third of construction
already finished – came after Mr Moon pledged to stop building nuclear
reactors, with the goal of making the county nuclear free by 2060.

Kepco had been seen by industry experts as the only potential acquirer of the
bankrupt US nuclear power plant builder Westinghouse because of security
reasons. But experts caution the political shift on nuclear energy will
probably discourage the state-run company from pursuing any attempt to buy
Westinghouse. Kepco has not ruled out buying Westinghouse but said on
Wednesday it was mulling how the government’s changed nuclear stance may
affect its bid. Kepco is in talks to join a UK consortium called NuGen that
is using Westinghouse’s technology to build a new nuclear power station in
Cumbria, England. “It would be difficult for the state-run company to even
raise the possibility of bidding for Westinghouse, when the government sees
nuclear energy as a doomed industry,” said Suh Kyun-ryul, professor of
atomic engineering at Seoul National University.  https://www.ft.com/content/a5d7ab48-5bd6-11e7-9bc8-8055f264aa8b

June 30, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea suspending construction of 2 nuclear reactors

S.Korea to suspend construction of 2 nuclear reactors while decides fate, http://www.reuters.com/article/southkorea-nuclear-idUSL3N1JO2KT

* Will gather public opinion on the two reactors

* New president wants to address public concern over atomic safety

* Country’s oldest reactor was permanently closed last Monday (Adds detail, background)

SEOUL, June 27 South Korea’s government said on Tuesday it would suspend construction of two partially-completed nuclear reactors while it gathers public opinion on the facilities and decides whether they should be scrapped.

The government said in a statement that it would form a committee that would spend about three months deciding whether or not construction of the plants should continue.

The move comes after the country’s new president, Moon Jae-in, said South Korea would stop building new nuclear power plants and not extend the lifespan of old reactors to address public concerns over atomic safety.

The part-completed Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 are located near the city of Busan, some 300 km (186 miles) southeast of Seoul. They were scheduled to be completed by March 2021 and March 2022 respectively.

If construction was scrapped, potential costs including compensation would be about 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion), South Korea’s Office for Government Policy and Coordination said in the statement.

South Korea is currently running 24 nuclear reactors after it permanently closed its oldest nuclear reactor, Kori No.1, last week. Nuclear power generates about one-third of the nation’s electricity

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s major turn away from nuclear energy with Kori-1’s permanent shutdown

 Jun.20,2017 , Changed energy policy prioritizes public safety, in line with South Korea’s turn from developing to developed country

“Permanently shutting down operations at Kori-1 is the beginning of a journey toward a nuclear-free country; it is the turning point toward a safe country. I will soon be preparing a roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out that can set South Koreans’ hearts at ease,” President Moon Jae-in said on June 19. With anxiety increasing around the world about the safety of nuclear power following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, Moon has become the first South Korean president to declare a nuclear power phase-out, signaling a major change in the country’s energy policy.

“Since South Korea has to import the majority of its energy, nuclear power was the energy policy chosen when we were still a developing country, but now it’s time to change that,” said Moon during an address delivered at a ceremony marking the permanent shutdown of Kori-1. The ceremony took place at the Kori Nuclear Power Headquarters of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), located in Gijang County, Busan.

Moon’s declaration of the goal of making South Korea nuclear-free signifies his willingness to turn the country’s current energy policy paradigm on its head. It affirms a transition from the energy policy of developing countries, which prioritize cheap power and efficiency, to that of developed countries, which place a premium on the environment and on the people’s right to life.

The key message offered by Moon is “public safety.” While mentioning the earthquake that struck Gyeongju in Sep. 2016, Moon emphasized that South Korea is no longer safe from earthquakes. Citing the fact that 3.82 million people live within a 30 km radius of the Kori plant, he argued that a nuclear accident in South Korea could be even more horrific than what happened at Fukushima

“The world today is moving irreversibly toward phasing out nuclear power. This is something we have to start now on behalf of our descendants, who will live in this country for millennia to come,” Moon said, making clear that it was impossible to return to the energy policy of the past.
Moon’s address also marks the point when he begins to specifically implement the pledges he made as a presidential candidate. He had promised to scrap all plans for building new nuclear reactors, to immediately shut down reactors whose operational life cycle has ended, to suspend construction on Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6, and to shut down Wolseong-1. “It’s as if the people of Busan [who live close to the Kori nuclear plant] have to live with this bomb by their beds that could go off at any time,” Moon said, after watching the nuclear disaster film “Pandora” at the end of last year. “We shouldn’t be asking whether or not to open up Pandora’s box [nuclear power]; we should be getting rid of the box altogether.”“The reason we haven’t been able to phase out nuclear power is not because of a lack of researchers but because of a lack of government will. The fact that the new government has not only shut down the Kori-1 nuclear reactor but also announced a new energy policy and declared its intention to phase out nuclear power in this address is very significant,” said Yun Sun-jin, a professor at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies at Seoul National University.“The next stage is to draw up a detailed roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out. Developed countries are reducing their consumption of electricity. A superficial comparison should be avoided since their industrial structures are different from ours, but in the future, we too should be able to move in the direction of the efficient consumption of energy,” Yun added.By Jung Yu-gyung and Lee Jung-ae, staff reporters

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

Moon Jae-in said he would lead country towards a ‘nuclear-free era’ following fears of a Fukushima-style meltdown

4967.jpgMoon Jae-in speaks at an event to mark the closure of South Korea’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1.

 

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country’s dependence on nuclear power, warning of “unimaginable consequences” from a Fukushima-style meltdown.

Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month’s presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a “nuclear-free era”.

Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: “So far, South Korea’s energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. “Cheap production prices were considered the priority while the public’s life and safety took a back seat. But it’s time for a change.

We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era. We will completely scrap construction plans for new nuclear reactors that are currently under way.”

Moon added that he would not extend the operation of ageing reactors, many of which will come to the end of their lifespans between 2020 and 2030.

Weaning South Korea off nuclear power, however, could take decades, and there is expected to be opposition from construction companies, which have increased technology exports under Moon’s nuclear-friendly predecessors.

The country was the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy last year, according to the World Nuclear Association, with its 25 reactors generating about a third of its electricity.

The former president Lee Myung-bak saw nuclear as an important source of clean energy, while Park wanted to increase the number of reactors to 36 by 2029.

Moon recognised the role of nuclear power in South Korea’s rapid economic development, but added that Japan’s Fukushima disaster – which prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – had convinced him that his country must look to new sources of energy.

The country’s economic status has changed, our awareness on the importance of the environment has changed. The notion that the safety and lives of people are more important than anything else has become a firm social consensus,” he said.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have long warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of a meltdown at a nuclear plant in South Korea, where many reactors are close to densely populated areas.

The public’s support for nuclear power has weakened since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown and a 2013 corruption scandal over fake safety certificates for reactor parts.

The Fukushima nuclear accident has clearly proved that nuclear reactors are neither safe, economical nor environmentally friendly,” Yonhap news agency quoted Moon as saying.

South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquakes, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact.”

He also plans to close at least 10 ageing coal-fired power plants before his term ends in 2022 and to boost renewables’ share of the energy mix to 20% by 2030.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/new-south-korean-president-vows-to-end-use-of-nuclear-power

June 19, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | | Leave a comment

Denuclearization Started by the Newly Elected South Korea’s Administration

South Korea’s administration has learned well from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, whereas Japan’s administration is still living in denial orchestrating cover-up and lies.

 

southkoreacu.jpgSouth Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about 30 percent of the country’s power supply

 

S. Korea to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors


South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In vowed on Monday to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors as he seeks to steer Asia’s fourth-largest economy clear of atomic power.

Moon, who swept to power with a landslide election win last month, campaigned on promises to phase out atomic energy and embrace what he says are safer and more environmentally-friendly power sources including solar and wind power.

The Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan sparked by a powerful earthquake in March 2011 sparked widespread public concern in neighbouring South Korea over its own aged atomic plants.

“We will dump our atomic-centric power supply and open the door to the post-nuclear era,” Moon said in a speech marking the decommissioning of the country’s first nuclear reactor, the Kori-1.

“I will scrap all preparations to build new reactors currently underway and will not extend lifespan of current reactors,” he said.

Many reactors are located dangerously close to residential areas in the densely-populated nation, Moon said, warning of “unimaginable consequences” in case of a nuclear meltdown.

“South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquake, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact,” he said.

South Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about 30 percent of the country’s power supply.

Many of them will see their lifespans expire between 2020 to 2030, with decisions on whether to extend some of their operations set to be made during Moon’s 2017-2022 term.

Moon, during his presidential campaign, vowed to try to eventually shut down all nuclear power plants across the country, although doing so will likely take decades.

Major corruption scandals involving state nuclear power agencies in recent years and a series of earthquakes last year further fanned public distrust and concerns over the safety of the plants.

Moon on Monday also vowed to decommission “as soon as possible” another aged atomic plant in the southeast, whose original 30-year lifespan had been extended by another decade to 2022.

He also vowed to introduce “post-coal” policy in line with his campaign promise to abandon coal power to ease air pollution in the country, which has the highest level of small air pollutant particles among OECD member nations.

But experts say shutdown of coal power plants could dramatically hike utility cost in the country where coal power generates about 40 percent of entire power needs.

https://phys.org/news/2017-06-korea-scrap-nuclear-reactors.html#jCp

Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor ceases operation

Kori No. 1, South Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor located in Busan, ceased operation Sunday at midnight after four decades.

Its operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. said that it cut the power supply Saturday and began the cooling-down process of the reactor.

20170618000189_0.jpg
Kori No.1, South Korea’s first and the oldest nuclear reactor is seen in southern city of Busan.

 

It was officially decommissioned, with the temperature of the reactor gradually dropping to 90 degrees Celsius, from its normal operation at 300 degree Celsius, the KHNP said. Officials will then relocate the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the rector to a liquid sodium-cooled reactor for reprocessing.

The actual dismantling of the facilities is expected to start no later than 2022. The KHNP expects that at least 634 billion won ($559 million) is required for the dismantling. They also need to submit a dismantlement plan within five years for the NCCS’ approval.

The state-run Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, which approved earlier this month the permanent shutdown of Kori No. 1, said it will continue to check the safety management of the suspended reactor on a regular basis until the dismantlement.

Following the government’s approval in 2007, Kori No. 1’s operation was extended by 10 years after a 30-year run.

Some experts oppose the planned reprocessing of nuclear waste, saying the technology, though effective in reducing the volume of waste, could complicate waste disposal by creating different types of radioactive waste.

Under President Moon Jae-in, the South Korean government aims to close all nuclear power plants by shutting down aged facilities and eventually phasing out the rest over the next 40 years.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170618000190

Korea’s first nuclear plant suspended after 40 years of operation

Built as Korea’s first nuclear power plant at Gijang County, Busan, Gori-1 came to a halt after completing its four decades of service, providing electricity since 1978. Gori-1 ended its chapter in the history of Korean nuclear power generation, being the first-ever nuclear powerhouse and the first of its kind to be out of service for good.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) opened its 70th meeting on Friday and announced that it has approved the permanent suspension of Gori-1, requested by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) last June. Under the recent approval, KHNP will stop operating the aged plant, and will cool nuclear fuels as of midnight on June 19. KHNP plans to dissemble the plant in earnest starting in 2022.

Gori-1 opened an era of commercial nuclear power generation in Korea on April 29, 1978. Meeting the rapidly increasing power demands amid economic growth, it has layed grounds for the nation to develop into an industrial state. While it reached its design life (30 years) in June 2007, the plant was resuscitated and was operated for an additional 10 years after undergoing full repair and consensus with residents.

Some view the first permanent suspension of a Korean nuclear plant as the first step towards denuclearization by the new administration. During his campaign, President Moon Jae-in pledged to immediately close down outdated nuclear plants and reduce nuclear power generation. Under the recent decision made by NSSC, experts view that the extension policy for the lifecycle of a nuclear plant will be set as “once for 10 years.” KHNP will hold a ceremony to celebrate the permanent halt of Gori-1 on June 19.

http://english.donga.com/List/3/04/26/948991/1

 

 

June 19, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | | Leave a comment

South Korea’s  Kori No. 1 nuclear reactor shut down

Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor ceases operation, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170618000190   By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com), Kori No. 1, South Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor located in Busan, ceased operation Sunday at midnight after four decades.

Its operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. said that it cut the power supply Saturday and began the cooling-down process of the reactor. It was officially decommissioned, with the temperature of the reactor gradually dropping to 90 degrees Celsius, from its normal operation at 300 degree Celsius, the KHNP said. Officials will then relocate the spent nuclear fuel stored inside the rector to a liquid sodium-cooled reactor for reprocessing.

The actual dismantling of the facilities is expected to start no later than 2022. The KHNP expects that at least 634 billion won ($559 million) is required for the dismantling. They also need to submit a dismantlement plan within five years for the NCCS’ approval.

The state-run Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, which approved earlier this month the permanent shutdown of Kori No. 1, said it will continue to check the safety management of the suspended reactor on a regular basis until the dismantlement.

Following the government’s approval in 2007, Kori No. 1’s operation was extended by 10 years after a 30-year run.

Some experts oppose the planned reprocessing of nuclear waste, saying the technology, though effective in reducing the volume of waste, could complicate waste disposal by creating different types of radioactive waste.

Under President Moon Jae-in, the South Korean government aims to close all nuclear power plants by shutting down aged facilities and eventually phasing out the rest over the next 40 years.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Korea | Leave a comment

Permanent shutdown of unit 1 of South Korea’s Kori nuclear power plant

World Nuclear News 9th June 2017, The permanent shutdown of unit 1 of the Kori nuclear power plant has been approved by the South Korea’s nuclear safety regulator. The unit – the country’s oldest operating reactor unit – will be taken offline on 19 June.

Kori 1 is a 576 MWe pressurized water reactor that started commercial operation in 1978. A six-month upgrading and inspection outage at Kori 1 in the second half of 2007 concluded a major refurbishment program and enabled its relicensing for a further ten years. A subsequent relicensing process could have taken Kori 1 to 2027, but Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced in August 2015 that it had withdrawn its application to extend the unit’s operating licence. In June last year, the company applied to decommission the reactor.  http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Final-shutdown-approaches-for-Koreas-oldest-reactor-0906175.html

June 12, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea’s plan for transition from coal and nuclear power

South Korea plans energy U-turn away from coal, nuclear, Reuters By Jane Chung 4 June 17  SEOULA proposed energy U-turn by South Korea’s new government would put the environment at the center of energy policy, shifting one of the world’s staunchest supporters of coal and nuclear power toward natural gas and renewables.

If implemented, the ambitious plans by the world’s fourth biggest coal importer and No.2 liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer will have a big impact on producers. South Korea’s LNG imports could jump by more than 50 percent by 2030, while coal shipments could peak as early as next year.

But experts warn that any move to halt construction of a raft of new coal and nuclear plants, many of which are already being built, could threaten energy security, spark claims for massive compensation and push up electricity prices.

The plan by the new administration of left-leaning President Moon Jae-in which took power in early May would move a notable laggard in renewables toward green energy, responding to public concerns over air pollution and nuclear safety.

“The government can’t neglect people’s demands and in the long term it’s right to pursue clean and safe energy. But there will be many challenges,” said Sonn Yang-Hoon, Economics Professor at Incheon National University.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, gets 70 percent of its electricity from thermal coal and nuclear reactors, and offers tax benefits to both sectors to ensure abundant electricity at affordable prices.

While Moon’s energy roadmap is still being hashed out, his staff say that care for the environment will play a central role in forming policy.

“Currently taxes are imposed on gas for power generation, and we plan to correct the skewed tax system by seeking to levy environmental taxes on coal and nuclear,” said Paik Ungyu, an energy engineering professor at Hanyang University who advises Moon on energy policy.

The government hopes to boost gas-fired generation from about 18 percent now to 27 percent by 2030 and boost the use of renewables, now mainly hydro, from roughly 5 percent to 20 percent, said Paik.

At the same time, coal’s contribution would fall from about 40 percent to 21.8 percent and nuclear from 30 percent to 21.6 percent, based on power demand growth of 2.2 percent.

DRAMATIC SHIFT

A key short-term option is to boost the operating rates of gas-fired power stations from 40 percent to 60 percent through the reduction or removal of tariffs on gas imports. Coal and nuclear power are exempt from import tariffs.

The price of gas-fired electricity in March was 129.51 won ($0.1160) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), 40 percent more than coal and nearly double the cost of nuclear power, according to data from Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

Long-term energy economics favor policy change, with renewable costs falling sharply due to improved technology and LNG prices sliding over 70 percent from their 2014 peak on a huge supply increase, especially from Australia and the United States.

“If there are no new nuclear and coal plants, the potential LNG imports could be 46-49 million tonnes per annum depending on the success of the renewable targets,” said Chong Zhi Xin, principal Asia LNG analyst at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Moon this month ordered a temporary halt on 10 old coal-fired power plants and outlined plans to bring forward their permanent closure.

More controversially, he pledged during his campaign to review existing plans to build nine coal power plants and eight nuclear reactors, including the part-completed Shin Kori No.5 and No.6, citing safety concerns.

Experts estimate up to $2.7 billion has already been committed on Shin Kori No.5 and No.6 by state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. Work has also started on the coal plant projects, although all are less than 10 percent complete…….https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-politics-energy-idUSKBN18V0EH

June 5, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

South Korea soon to announce plans to phase out nuclear power

Korean govt likely announce its nuclear power phase-out plan next month, http://pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2017&no=361752 By Ko Jae-man and Jin Young-tae
2017.05.30 South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to announce his roadmap to phase out from heavy reliance on nuclear energy on June 19 while attending a ceremony closing down the country’s first reactor.

During a briefing session of the presidential planning and advisory committee on Monday, Lee Kae-ho, head of the commission’s second economic team, urged nuclear related organizations including the Nuclear Security and Safety Commission (NSSC) to map out long-term outline of shifting energy policy more oriented towards renewable clean sources from fossil-fueled and nuclear reactors that carry environmental and security risks as promised by Moon during campaign.

Moon had vowed to close down aged nuclear plants and stop building new ones in an aim to push the number of 25 reactors to zero over the next 40 years. Korea started to build atomic plants in the 1970s and runs 25 that are responsible for about a third of the country’s power supply. Moon has vowed to shift the country’s energy dependency away from nuclear power to natural gas and renewable energies.

The commission, in charge of setting up public policy of the new administration for the next five years, also asked the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) to participate in the briefing sessions on nuclear power policy.

Based on the plans to be prepared by related government departments, President Moon will likely announce his zero nuclear plant roadmap during an event to be held on June 19 to permanently shut down the country’s oldest Kori-1 nuclear reactor, according to sources.

The KHNP has suspended building Shin Hanul 3 and 4 reactors scheduled to start construction this month until the new government’s plans on atomic energy come out. The Shin Kori 3, 4 and Shin Hanul 1, 2 reactors are still under construction as they are almost 90 percent completed, but industry watchers believe the construction of Shin Kori 5, 6 reactors that are just 28 percent completed would be stopped.

The Wolsung-1 reactor located in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, will also likely to be closed down as environmental groups and local residents won a court injunction on the government’s approval of extended operation for another 10 years of the reactor that had already completed its 30-year run in November 2012. The reactor has been at the heart of the safety concerns for old nuclear plants due to a series of breakdowns caused by power outages. If the plaintiff wins once again in an appeals trial scheduled on June 5, experts believe the NSSC and KHNP would announce the shutdown of the reactor.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Study: S. Korean nuclear disaster would hit Japan the hardest

hjhklmmù.jpgThe projected spread of radioactive cesium-137 from a disaster at the No. 3 reactor’s spent fuel pool of the Kori nuclear plant in Busan, South Korea (Provided by Kang Jung-min)

A serious nuclear accident in South Korea could force the evacuation of more than 28 million people in Japan, compared with around 24 million in the home country of the disaster.

Japan would also be hit harder by radioactive fallout than South Korea in such a disaster, particularly if it occurred in winter, when strong westerly winds would blow radioactive substances across the Sea of Japan, according to a simulation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based think tank.

The simulation, based on a scenario of an unfolding crisis at the Kori nuclear power plant in Busan, South Korea, was led by Kang Jung-min, a South Korean senior researcher of nuclear physics, and his colleagues.

At events in Japan and South Korea, Kang, 51, has repeatedly warned about East Asia’s vulnerability to a severe nuclear accident, saying the region shares the “same destiny” regardless of the location of such a disaster.

The Kori nuclear complex is home to seven of the country’s 25 commercial reactors, making it one of the largest in South Korea. Its oldest reactor–and the first in the country–went online in 1978.

Spent nuclear fuel at the Kori plant is cooled in on-site storage pools next to reactors.

But the operator of the plant has ended up storing spent fuel in more cramped conditions than in the past because waste keeps accumulating from the many years of operations.

An estimated 818 tons of spent fuel was being stored at the pool of the Kori No. 3 reactor as of the end of 2015, the most at any reactor in the country.

That is because the No. 3 pool has also been holding spent fuel from the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors since their fuel pools became too crowded.

Storing spent fuel in such a manner greatly increases the risk of a nuclear accident, Kang warned.

Kang’s team simulated the series of likely events that would follow if the No. 3 reactor lost power in a natural disaster or an act of terrorism.

With no power, the spent fuel at the No. 3 reactor could not be cooled. The cooling water would evaporate, exposing the fuel rods to air, generating intensive heat and causing a fire.

Hydrogen gas would then fill up the fuel storage building, leading to an explosion that would result in the release of a large amount of vaporized cesium-137 from the spent fuel.

Assuming that the catastrophe occurred on Jan. 1, 2015, the researchers determined how highly radioactive cesium-137 would spread and fall to the ground based on the actual weather conditions over the following week, as well as the direction and velocity of winds.

To gauge the size of the area and population that would be forced to evacuate in such a disaster, the team took into account recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, a private entity, and other organizations.

The results showed that up to 67,000 square kilometers of land in Japan–or much of the western part of the country–would fall under the evacuation zone, displacing a maximum of 28.3 million people.

In South Korea, up to 54,000 square kilometers would need to be vacated, affecting up to 24.3 million people.

The simulation also found that 18.4 million Japanese and 19 million Koreans would remain displaced for even after 30 years, the half-life of cesium-137, in a worst-case scenario.

Radioactive materials from South Korea would also pollute North Korea and China, according to the study.

Nineteen reactors in South Korea are located in the coastal area facing the Sea of Japan, including those at the Kori nuclear power plant.

Kang said the public should be alerted to the dangers of highly toxic spent fuel, an inevitable byproduct of nuclear power generation.

One ton of spent fuel contains 100,000 curies of cesium-137, meaning that 20 tons of spent fuel would be enough to match the estimated 2 million curies of cesium-137 released in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

An average-size light-water reactor produces about 20 tons of spent fuel in one year of operation.

East Asia is home to one of the world’s largest congestions of nuclear facilities, Kang said.

Japan, China and South Korea, which have all promoted nuclear energy as state policy for decades, together host about 100 commercial reactors.

A number of nuclear-related facilities are also concentrated in North Korea, particularly in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.

If a severe accident were to occur in China, the pollution would inevitably spill over to South Korea and then to Japan.

That is why people should take serious interest in not just their own country’s nuclear issues, but also in neighboring countries,” Kang said. “Japan, China and South Korea should cooperate with each other to ensure the safety and security of spent fuel and nuclear facilities.”

He said the risks of a fire would be reduced if spent fuel were placed at greater intervals in storage pools.

Ideally, spent fuel should be moved to sealed dry casks and cooled with air after it is cooled in a pool for about five years,” he said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703300001.html

 

May 22, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | , , , | Leave a comment