Seoul — South Korea has shut two nuclear reactors due to an influx of marine organisms just two weeks after restarting them after an earlier influx, company officials said April 8, adding to the country's potential LNG demand for power generation as the government reiterates its commitment to reducing coal-fired power generation.
The Hanul-1 and –2 reactors, both with a capacity of 950 MW, were shut April 6 after an influx of marine organisms disrupted water pump operations, said an official at state-owned nuclear power operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, or KHNP.
The same two reactors were shut for nine days in March due to an earlier influx.
KHNP officials could not say when the units would restart because the timing hinges on receiving approval from the country's nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.
However, given the timeframe of the shutdown in March, the two reactors are expected to remain closed for at least a week.
The Hanul nuclear complex, which has six reactors with a combined capacity of 5.9 GW on the country's east coast, has had influxes of marine organisms prompt reactor shutdowns nine times since 1996, but prior to March, the last incident was in 2006.
"There were no reactor shutdowns for marine organism influxes for the past 15 years. We are currently investigating why such influxes are happening again," the KHNP official said.
KHNP has also extended maintenance by four to five months until July or August at the Hanbit-4 and –5 reactors, each with a capacity of 1 GW on the country's west coast, to repair voids in concrete containment walls and corrosion on containment liner plates, which could also boost South Korea's LNG demand for power generation.
A total of seven reactors with a combined capacity of 6.85 GW are currently offline, equating to 29.5% of South Korea's overall capacity of 23.25 GW across 24 nuclear reactors. This is up from five reactors with a combined capacity of 4.95 GW that were offline over January-March.