SEOUL Nov 16 South Korea aims to secure more
than 4,000 megawatts (MW) of extra power capacity over demand
through savings and new plants to head off potential blackouts,
after the closure of nuclear plants means reserve excess
capacity in January would be less than a third of the normal
The nuclear problems have increased the risk of power
shortages in the harsh Korean winter after the closure of two
reactors to replace parts with fake quality documents and an
extended shutdown of another reactor where microscopic cracks
The northeast Asian country is heavily dependent on oil, gas
and coal imports, but usually supplies about a third of its
electricity from nuclear power generation from its 23 reactors.
Under the plan, an additional 1,270 MW of power capacity
would come from private and public power generators, a statement
from the economy ministry said on Friday.
A further 3,000 MW is targeted from power savings including
less heating at firms and public places, the statement said.
Without such efforts, South Korea's excess power generating
capacity over projected demand in January is forecast at 1,270
MW, or 28 percent of the safety margin that the government aims
for to guarantee supplies, the statement said.
With little spare capacity, the grid would be vulnerable to
"We are facing very tough situation...It is important that
no more power plant have outages from now on," said an economy
ministry source, declining to be named.
Asia's fourth-largest economy would have to conduct rotating
blackouts in the public sector if excess power generating
capacity falls below 2,000 MW, the ministry statement added.
The economy ministry statement said that shortage of power
supply was expected to improve from 2014 as a combined7,000-MW
power plants would be added to a total of more than 80,000 MW of
power generating capacity by the end of 2013.
(Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Additional reporting by Jane Chung;
Editing by Ed Davies)