Several major nuclear announcements surfaced from around the world this week. South Korea plans to retire its oldest nuclear reactor early, Nigeria selected two sites for the construction of four nuclear reactors, while Pakistan approved the construction of two China-assisted reactors.
KHNP Moves to Retire Kori 1 Early
Amid growing concerns about the safety of the country’s aging facilities, a government committee called on state-backed Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) to permanently close the Kori 1 reactor. KHNP agreed on June 16, saying it will shutter the reactor in 2017.
The 587-MW Kori 1 plant, built in 1978, was the nation’s first nuclear plant. But though refurbished in 2007 and approved to run until 2017, KHNP was vetting the prospect of relicensing the plant and extending operation to 2027. KHNP CEO Cho Seok reportedly told employees on June 16, “Some may regret the decision to shut Kori 1, although its safety was guaranteed, but the nuclear industry is now faced with a paradigm shift.”
KHNP later said in a statement that the decision to retire the plant was despite on “differing opinions over its economic feasibility.”
South Korea’s 23 reactors produce about a third of its power. Concerns about nuclear safety have mounted in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster and were exacerbated by a documentation scandal that rocked the sector.
Eleven new reactors are slated for construction, and the government recently announced a long-term energy plan to build two more nuclear power plants so that the country would have a total 36 plants operating by 2029 to help curb carbon emissions.
Nigeria Selects Sites for Nuclear Plants
Power-starved Nigeria has reportedly selected two sites that will host four nuclear reactors to be built by Russia’s state-owned nuclear entity Rosatom.
The Nigerian government and Rosatom declined to identify the specific locations, but media is reporting that the sites will be in Akwa Ibom state in southeast Nigeria, and Kogi state in the central northern Nigeria.
The country’s first 1-GW nuclear plant could be built in 2026, officials have said, adding to the country’s current 13 GW of total generation capacity.
Pakistan Approves Two Nuclear Reactors Near Karachi
The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency has approved the construction of two nuclear reactors at Paradise Point, a seafront area on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital Karachi.
The reactors, K2 and K3, would each be 1.1 GW. In April, the China Energy Engineering Group Co (CEEC) won the tender for civil engineering construction and installation work for the conventional island of the plant, which it said would use Hualong One reactors. Construction is expected to start at the end of 2015 and take 72 months.
—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)