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(LEAD) Nuclear reactor in S. Korea stops operations

All News 15:30 July 22, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES headline; RECASTS 2nd para; ADDS more info, background from 4th para, photo)

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- A nuclear reactor at South Korea's power plant stopped operations Friday due to malfunctions in its safety-related system, plant operators said.

The Wolseong-1 reactor at the plant, located in Gyeongju, about 400 km southeast of Seoul, came to a halt at around 11:24 a.m. according to the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP).

No radiation leaks have been reported. The operator said that it is currently working on finding the exact cause of the shutdown.

"The reactor is a safe now, without radiation effects on the environment," the KHNP said in a release.

It is the second time that the 678-megawatt facility has gone offline in the recent two months since it had stopped for two weeks in May due to a defect in its valve system.

The Wolseong-1 reactor had been shut down since 2012 when it reached its 30-year commercial operation period.

But it went back online in June last year after the state-run nuclear watchdog decided to restart operation of the facility for another 10 years.

The decision has sparked public concerns over the reactor's safety here after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

South Korea has 23 nuclear reactors in operation from which it gets about 30 percent of its electricity supply.

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