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Malfunction shuts down S. Korea nuclear reactor

/ 11:41 AM October 02, 2012

SEOUL—South Korea shut down one of its nuclear reactors Tuesday following a malfunction in its control system but there was no risk of a radiation leak, plant operators said.

The 1,000-megawatt Shingori 1 reactor near the southern city of Busan was shut down after a warning signal at 8:10 am (2310 GMT Monday), the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) said.

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“There was a malfunction in the reactor’s control rod, but the reactor is now stable with no danger of a radiation leak,” a KHNP spokesman told AFP.

It is the first time the reactor has been shut down since it began operations in February last year.

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South Korea operates 23 nuclear power plants which meet more than 35 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

In July, another 1,000-megawatt reactor at Yeonggwang — some 260 kilometres (156 miles) south of Seoul — went into automatic shutdown after a malfunction.

And in February the country’s oldest nuclear plant at Gori, built in 1978 near Busan, briefly lost mains power and the emergency generator failed to kick in.

There was no radioactive leak in either case, but both incidents sparked extensive probes with concern riding high over nuclear safety since last year’s tsunami-triggered crisis in Japan.

In May, five engineers at Gori were charged with trying to cover up the power failure.

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