S.Korea's nuclear regulator approves permanent shutdown of 2nd-oldest reactor

SEOUL, Dec 24 (Reuters) - South Korea’s nuclear safety regulator said on Tuesday it has decided to permanently shut down the country’s second-oldest nuclear reactor.

Nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power approved last year the shutdown of the Wolsong No.1 nuclear reactor earlier than planned, as part of the country’s long-term scheme to phase out nuclear power.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission approved the operator’s request for the shutdown on Tuesday, saying the move would not result in public safety risks.

The 679-megawatt Wolsong reactor has been offline since May 2017.

In 2012, operations at the reactor were suspended after it reached its 30-year lifespan, but it was started back up again after the country’s nuclear regulator extended that lifespan by 10 years.

South Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which supply about a third of the country’s electricity. Nine are offline for maintenance, according to Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power. (Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Hugh Lawson)