August 9, 2008

Lightning Shuts Down South Korea’s Oldest Nuclear Reactor

Lightning Shuts Down South Korea's Oldest Nuclear Reactor

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

BUSAN, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) - Lightning shut down a major South Korean nuclear power plant Saturday but there was no radiation leak from the facility, a regional unit of the reactor's operator said.

The 587-megawatt Gori No 1 reactor near Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was forced to halt operations because its cooling-pump was hit by lightning at about 11:52 a.m., the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said.

"It may take three to seven days to fix the problem," said an official at the state-run company.

Gori No 1 is the first nuclear power plant South Korea built in the mid-1970s with the help of the US firm Westinghouse. Nuclear power accounts for some 40 per cent of South Korea's total power generation. Twenty nuclear power plants are currently in operation in South Korea and several more are under construction.