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S. Korea Issues Power Shortage Alert Amid Nuclear Stoppages

South Korea issued a preliminary power-shortage warning as rising temperatures boosted the use of air-conditioning while the shutdown of two nuclear reactors cut electricity supply.

Companies including Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. will adopt power-saving measures to help the country avert shortages, the Energy Ministry said in an e-mailed statement following a meeting between executives and Energy Minister Yoon Sang Jick.

Electricity reserves fell below a threshold of 5 million kilowatts today, prompting Korea Power Exchange to issue a level 1 alert at about 1:31 p.m. local time, according to the website of the state-run electricity distributor. That’s the lowest warning level.

South Korea, which depends on nuclear energy for more than 30 percent of its electricity, halted two nuclear reactors last week and delayed the start of operations at another after discovering that the facilities were using components whose quality certificates were faked. The country may face “unprecedented” power shortages during the summer, Vice Minister for Energy Han Jin Hyun said May 28.

Samsung Electronics will adopt measures including maintaining office temperature above 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Energy Ministry’s statement. Hyundai Motor will reduce power consumption without affecting production, while steelmaker Posco will maximize use of its generators during peak demand hours, the ministry said.

Other companies adopting power-saving steps include GS Caltex Corp., and SK Energy Co., according to the statement.

Temperatures in cities including Gwangju and Daegu reached 29 degrees Celsius today, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. Temperatures in South Korea in June and August will be higher than in previous years, according to the weather agency.

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