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Ministry, energy firms raided over allegations of manipulating Wolsong-1 report

All News 15:22 November 05, 2020

GYEONGJU/DAEJEON, South Korea, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors on Thursday raided the industry ministry and two state-run energy firms over allegations that they manipulated the profitability projections of the now-decommissioned Wolsong-1 nuclear reactor to determine the facility's early closure.

Prosecutors and investigators from the Dajeon District Prosecutors Office simultaneously raided the industry ministry in Sejong, Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS) in Daegu and the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) in Gyeongju to secure related documents and computer files.

Workers at the industry ministry in Sejong, 120 kilometers south of Seoul, huddle together as prosecutors raid the ministry's offices on Nov. 5, 2020, over allegations that officials were involved in an organized scheme to manipulate the profitability projections of the Wolsong-1 nuclear reactor. (Yonhap)

The raids come amid a report from country's state auditor, the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), which concluded that the industry ministry and KHNP unreasonably undervalued the economic viability of the country's second-oldest nuclear reactor.

The 2019 closure of Wolsong-1 has remained a hot-button topic in domestic politics since President Moon Jae-in decided in 2017 to decommission the reactor earlier than scheduled in line with his energy policy.

For more than a year, BAI reviewed whether the shutdown decision by KHNP was based on independent research, as opposed to being predetermined or politically influenced by the administration.

Prosecutors began looking into the case after the main opposition People Power Party pressed criminal charges against former Industry Minister Paik Un-gyu, KHNP President Chung Jae-hoon and KOGAS President Chae Hee-bong last month.

odissy@yna.co.kr
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