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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nuclear reactor on development fast track

[I worked in South Korea back in the 90's and they have been interested in nuclear energy for a long time. Today, South Korea has 20 reactors operating which is even more than Germany (17).]


December 18, 2008
Korea will accelerate development of an advanced indigenous nuclear reactor to enhance the country’s competitiveness in the international market, the government said yesterday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the development of the Advanced Power Reactor, or APR, will be complete by 2012, three years ahead of schedule. The reactor has greater power output than current models along with enhanced safety features. It could start commercial operation in 2022.

Efforts to develop key components like reactor coolant pumps and a man-machine interface system that acts as the “heart and nerve” center of all commercial nuclear power units are also coming, the ministry said.

Korea which started nuclear power generation in 1977, can design and build its own reactors, although it has not been able to secure overseas building contracts so far. One obstacle to this has been the country’s reliance on foreign technology for a handful of core parts.

Seoul announced the NuTech 2015 plan in 2006 with the aim of building the APR and becoming independent with regard to related technologies.

At present, the country operates 20 commercial reactors that provide roughly 36 percent of its electricity. Eight more reactors are under construction to be completed between 2010-2016, with 10 more to be built by 2030. Yonhap

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