S.Korea to shut nuclear reactor for welding quality check

SEOUL, Sept 2 Mon Sep 2, 2013 10:54am EDT

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SEOUL, Sept 2 (Reuters) - South Korea will shut a nuclear reactor to examine welding quality related to the safety of a steam generator, although it has not decided yet when and how long the closure will be, the nuclear regulator said on Monday.

Nuclear supplies a third of South Korea's electricity. Of its 23 reactors, six are now offline including those three closed in May to replace cables supplied with forged documents, resulting in an unprecedented power shortage this summer.

The state-run Nuclear Safety & Security Commission in a statement said it had decided to close a slightly under 1,000-megawatt reactor in Yeonggwang county, 250 km southwest of Seoul.

"To examine welding quality, it is necessary to shut down the reactor as the coolant of its steam generator should be removed," the statement said, adding that a special investigation committee would be formed.

Prosecutors are conducting an investigation into forged safety certificates and substandard parts at reactors.

Those arrested include the former the CEO of the state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), subsidiary of state-run Korea Electric Power Corp, that runs all the country's nuclear plants, who faces bribery charges. (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho, editing by William Hardy)

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