S. Korea halts nuclear reactors over fake documents

South Korea announced Tuesday it was turning off two nuclear power reactors and delaying the scheduled start of operation at another two, after its inspectors discovered that the reactors used components whose safety certificates were forged.

Two of the affected nuclear reactors are in Kori, about 320 km southeast of Seoul, and in Wolsong, about 280 km from the capital. The reactors each have a maximum capacity of 1,000 megawatts, Reuters reports.

The country’s nuclear power industry has been troubled by a series of mandatory shutdowns, corruption scandals and mechanical failures in recent years, undermining public confidence in atomic energy even as South Korea’s dependence on it for electricity is expected to grow in coming years.

This is not the first time the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission forces Seoul to shut down nuclear reactors over false certificates. The two reactors forced to delay operations today have been closed since last year also over fake documentation.

Earlier this month, six nuclear engineers and equipment suppliers were handed prison sentences in connection with the supply of unauthorized ‘non-core equipment’ (cooling fans, cables and switches, which require international certification), mainly to the Yeonggwang nuclear plant on the southwest coast.

Three of the plant’s six reactors were forced to halt operations in November, a move that drove authorities to inspect equipment at all of the country’s 23 nuclear facilities nationwide.

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