South Korea’s 24th Reactor Starts Commercial Operation

South Korea on July 24 put online its 24th nuclear power plant. Shin Wolsong Unit 2 (Figure 3) will be the last to use the domestically developed OPR-1000 reactor design.

3. Inside Shin Wolsong 2. Shin Wolsong 2, the last OPR-1000 built in South Korea, came online in July. Courtesy: KHNP

Originally called the Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant, the reactor design that draws on Westinghouse and Framatome (now AREVA) technology was rebranded as the OPR-1000 in 2005. Ten South Korean units use the reactor design. While the Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) is actively marketing OPR-1000 in the Middle East and North African countries, future South Korean plants will use the third-generation APR1400 design. The first APR1400 at Shin Kori 3 is nearing commercial operation, and three others are under construction.

Permits for Shin Wolsong Unit 1 and 2 were authorized in 2005, and Unit 1 came online in 2014. Unit 2 was completed in 2013, but permission to start up the reactor was stalled after it was revealed that safety-related control cabling installed at four reactors had falsified documentation.

Owner Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. says that following the Fukushima disaster, the company has stepped up safety at the plant, including the installation of a passive autocatalytic recombiner (PAR), which can operate even when there is no power supplied, and mobile power units for emergency power supply “In addition, the integrated head assembly (IHA) reduced the time required to load fuel, and the application of a polymer solidification system reduced the radioactive waste.”

—Sonal Patel, associate editor