• 50 mins Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 3 hours South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 6 hours Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 7 hours Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 8 hours Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 10 hours ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 3 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 3 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 3 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 3 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 3 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 3 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 3 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 4 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 4 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 4 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 4 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 4 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 4 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 4 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 5 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 5 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 5 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 5 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 5 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 5 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 5 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 5 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 6 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 6 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 6 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 6 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 6 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 6 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 7 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 7 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 7 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 7 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 7 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 7 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
Alt Text

This OPEC Strategy Could Boost Uranium Prices Next Year

Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium…

Alt Text

Is Infinite Clean Energy Near?

The dream of creating a…

Alt Text

Russia’s Nuclear Sector Is Surging

With a long-standing nuclear tradition,…

John Daly

John Daly

Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European…

More Info

South Korean Nuclear Power Glitches Unsettle Government

South Korean Nuclear Power Glitches Unsettle Government

South Korea currently has 21 nuclear power plants (NPPs). According to government statistics, atomic power produces about 40 percent of the country’s total electricity supply, roughly 18.5 gigawatts.

South Korea’s first NPP in Kori, South Gyeongsang province, came online in 1972 and the government is proud of announcing that its NPPs have not had any “major” accidents in the past four decades.

Recently however South Korea’s NPPs have had more than a few “hiccups,” as the Korea Herald recently put it.

On the morning of 14 December the Kori NPP suffered a ‘hiccup” when a temporary surge of electricity caused the facility’s safety mechanisms to shut the complex down.

The incident was preceded 12 hours earlier by an industrial accident at the 1 million kilowatt Uljin NNP complex, about 200 miles southeast of the capital Seoul, which also went offline following a momentary failure of a steam turbine condenser. Two months ago, another mishap at another reactor in the Uljin NNP facility resulted in the reactor’s shutting down because of a malfunction of a coolant pump.

But back to the Kori NPP. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co., the state-run nuclear plant operator, said it is working to figure out the reason for the Kori NNP incident, with a company official telling journalists, "A problem was detected in the generator, but it will take some time before we learn exactly what the problem is. There is no radiation leak or any safety threat."

But the Kori and Uljin NNP shutdowns have had a cumulative effect, as three additional reactors, two in the Uljin NNP complex and one in Wolseong, North Gyeongsang province, were recently shuttered for routine post-peak maintenance.

Between the “hiccups” and routine maintenance, 5 of South Korea’s 20 NNPs are effectively offline, an unsettling scenario for Seoul at the onset of winter, leaving officials to reassure the public about the possibility of electrical brownouts or even blackouts. Seeking to allay public concerns, the South Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy issued a statement noting “There’s no problem despite the breakdowns as we maintain the electricity reserves at nearly 6.8 million kilowatts,” adding that reserves of 4 million kilowatts or higher are deemed sufficient.

Erring on the side of caution however, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy noted that later in the week it will curb demand from large industrial energy consumers and limit commercial and residential heating. The Ministry’s conservation package includes a 10 percent demand cut for large factories, caps on maximum temperatures for commercial buildings and the limiting the use of neon signs.

Contributing its bit, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. said that it plans to bring two of the off-lined reactors back onto the national power grid as early as next week, thus contributing an additional 1.7 million kilowatts.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy is doubtless recalling that last January, a 23-minute power failure resulted in more than $60 million in losses at the country’s largest petrochemical complex in Yeosu, South Jeolla province, as demand subsequently soared to a record high of 73.14 million kilowatts.

But the country’s electrical supplies are not only impacted by cold weather, as in September the country suffered blackouts because people switched on their air conditioners in the midst of an unseasonable heat wave.

While the 11 March Fukushima nuclear debacle in neighboring Japan has caused some soul searching in Tokyo about the country’s future commitment to nuclear power, Seoul remains firmly on track for further developing the country’s nuclear power capacities to keep pace with the increasing demand for electricity, elevating nuclear's share of the country’s power generation to 56 percent, with eleven more reactors scheduled to come online in the next decade, adding 15.2 gigawatts to the national grid.

But roseate expansion plans aside, the recent “hiccups” have had two effects, first by putting South Korean electrical consumers on notice that NPPS have their “problems,’ and secondly, somewhat tarnishing South Korea’s overseas image as a technological powerhouse that has fully tamed the “power of the atom.” South Korea is seeking to export its nuclear technology and intends to export 80 nuclear reactors within the next two decades. The recent incidents at the Kori and Uljin NNP, combined with the nuclear “incident next door and possible imminent blackouts back home may force these ambitious goals to be somewhat downsized.

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Fred Banks on December 23 2011 said:
    When I came to Australia after the Chernobyl 'incident', I encountered people who believed that Sweden had almost been wiped off the face of the earth by the fallout from Chernobyl. Something is wrong when misunderstandings of that nature are in circulation. But on the other hand, before the great construction boom of nuclear reactors begins later in this century, it is perhaps just as well if the voters insist that their political masters treat this matter of nuclear energy seriously. Dead seriously in fact.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News