South Korea Approves Nuclear Reactor Restart as Shortage Looms

South Korea, facing its worst power shortage, approved the resumption of a nuclear reactor shut down for almost eight months due to faulty safety equipment.

The Hanbit No. 3 reactor, on South Korea’s west coast, will restart today and reach its full 1,000-megawatt capacity by June 13, Chang Won, deputy director at the country’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, said by phone. The reactor has been offline since October after cracks were found in a control rod, Chang said.

The world’s fourth-biggest nuclear power producer last year may face “unprecedented” power shortages this summer after shutting down two reactors and delaying the start of operations at another last month, according to Vice Minister for Energy Han Jin Hyun. The restart of Hanbit No. 3 will mean 14 of the country’s 23 reactors are in operation.

The Shin-Kori No. 2 and Shin-Wolsong No. 1 reactors will be offline for about four months to replace control cables supplied under fake quality warranties, the Energy Ministry said on May 28. The government also ordered the replacement of cables at the Shin-Kori No. 1 reactor, which is shut for regular maintenance, and at the new Shin-Wolsong No. 2 plant, which is in review before commencing operations.

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