SEOUL Oct 10 South Korea has indicted 100
people, including a top former state utility official, of
corruption in a scandal over fake safety certifications for
parts in its nuclear reactors, authorities said on Thursday.
Asia's fourth largest economy has faced a series of
shutdowns of nuclear reactors due to fake documents going back
to late 2012. Of its 23 reactors, six remain offline, including
three halted in May to replace cables supplied with bogus
"We hope the so-called nuclear mafia style behavior would be
rooted out if strict investigations and law enforcement and
system reforms continue," Kim Dong-yeon, a top government policy
coordinator, told a news briefing.
Those indicated on Thursday include a vice president at
Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and a former chief
executive at Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co, who face bribery
charges. The two were arrested as the scandal unfolded.
South Korea's tightly closed nuclear industry has been
criticised for breeding a culture of secrecy that led to corrupt
practices among officials involved in safety certification.
Officials indicated they would bring back the reactors that
had been suspended for inspection and replacement of parts,
rather than phasing them out and cutting dependence on nuclear
power, which produces a third of the country's electricity.
Three of the six out of service reactors are under
maintenance or have had operational approvals expire, while the
rest are having cables replaced.
The government is expected to decide late this year whether
to resume operations of the six reactors after the completion of
cable tests, said Kim Yong-hwan, an official at the Nuclear
Safety & Security Commission.
South Korea last suffered rolling blackouts in September
2011 when unexpectedly warm temperatures boosted power
consumption after some power generators had already been taken
down for post-summer maintenance.
The country has barely avoided blackouts between June and
August this year as it cut power use in a nationwide energy
Concerns over the safety of nuclear power have risen in
South Korea as neighbouring Japan continues to struggle with the
clean-up of the world's worst atomic disaster in three decades,
but authorities have shown no sign of cutting back.
(Editing by Jack Kim and Clarence Fernandez)