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Seoul to shut problematic nuclear reactors after month-long tests

All Headlines 17:33 March 28, 2011

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will carry out extensive safety checkups on all of the nation's 21 nuclear reactors over the next month, with any problematic ones to be shut down, officials said Monday as they took urgent moves after massive radiation leaks from Japan's quake-crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Under the latest measure announced after a nuclear safety meeting presided over by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, the government will conduct intensive inspections of all 21 reactors nationwide, particularly those built over 20 years ago, by April 22, said the officials.

The safety inspections will also be carried out under a simulation in which multiple disasters strike the nation, including an earthquake, tsunami, power failure and radiation leaks, the officials at the Prime Minister's Office said.

South Korea currently operates 21 nuclear reactors located at four nuclear power plants, which produce some 36 percent of the country's electric power output, while thermal power generation accounts for 63 percent. South Korea currently ranks as the fifth-largest nuclear energy producer in the world.

The government said it will continue to maintain the government's nuclear energy policy, while placing more emphasis on safety.

South Korea plans to construct five more reactors by 2014 and two others by 2017 in a bid to secure a stable energy supply and help tackle climate change.

"We should come up with complete countermeasures against nuclear disaster, based on analysis of Japan's radiation leaks and the results of the upcoming tests," said Kim, calling for the government to keep close tabs on the situation in Japan.

brk@yna.co.kr
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