South Korean nuclear regulator approves Wolseong plant restart

26 February 2015 (Last Updated February 26th, 2015 18:30)

Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) in South Korea has renewed the operating licence of unit 1 of the Wolseong nuclear power plant until 2022.

Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) in South Korea has renewed the operating licence of unit 1 of the Wolseong nuclear power plant until 2022.

The nuclear facility was established in Gyeongju city to the south of Seoul. It is the second oldest power plant in the country.

Revival of the 32-year-old reactor had aroused safety concerns in the country and had been faced with strong opposition from residents and environmental groups.

The 678MW reactor, which stopped operating in November 2012, was brought back to life following favourable votes by seven of the nine NSSC commissioners.

"Revival of the 32-year-old reactor had aroused safety concerns in the country and had been faced with strong opposition from residents and environmental groups."

The 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan had triggered concerns over nuclear power reactors throughout the world.

Moreover, the South Korean regulator has been apprehensive about the restart following the 2012 incident of fake certificate for reactor equipment and the hacking of the nuclear operator in December 2014, reported Reuters.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), the operator for the Wolseong nuclear facility, was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency, as saying: "Considering the current energy situation, efforts needed for building a new nuclear reactor, as well as related construction and environmental costs, (South Korea) needs to utilise current atomic facilities as much as possible."

Wolseong No.1 is expected to be restarted by April, after regular tests.