South Korea: More Fake Parts on Nukes

Friday, November 30, 2012 @ 09:11 AM gHale

There are nearly a thousand more parts supplied for nuclear power plants with fake quality certificates in South Korea, officials said, adding this would not lead to further reactor shutdowns.

After finding out eight companies supplied fake certificates, that forced officials to shutdown of two of the country’s 23 reactors this month, raising the risk of winter power shortages.

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A third reactor underwent an extended maintenance period after they found microscopic cracks in tunnels that guide control rods. Nuclear normally accounts for a third of South Korea’s power supplies.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said further investigation had uncovered 919 parts of 53 items supplied by two new firms with forged quality documents. Most had been fitted in six reactors — five of which already affected by the earlier revelations.

“We see it as possible for now to change the parts without shutting more reactors down,” said a commission spokeswoman.

Six reactors are offline now, according to government data.

Authorities in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, heavily dependent on oil and gas imports, have said they may have to introduce rolling blackouts this winter as the grid will have less than a third of normal reserve capacity.

The country’s sole power transmitter and distributor, Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), said it would hold a drill to check for stable power supply and gauge the chances of outages this winter.

Authorities have stressed the parts — such as fuses, switches and heat sensors — are not crucial to the nuclear process and there is no safety risk.

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