On 22 December, Ulchin 3, the first 1000 MWe Korean Standardised Nuclear Plant (KSNP), went critical. Commercial operation is not expected until the end of June. Three other KSNP units (Ulchin 4 and Yonggwang 5&6) are under construction and ground excavation is scheduled to begin for another two units (Ulchin 5&6) in October 1998, one year behind the original schedule, with commercial operation set for 2004 and 2005, respectively. Two 700 MWe PHWRs (Wolsong 3&4) are also under construction.
Under the country’s current long-term nuclear power development programme, four additional 1000 MWe KSNPs and four 1300 MWe KNGRs (Korean Next Generation Reactors) were due to be commissioned between 2005 and 2010. A revision of this plan, originally due to be issued before the end of 1997, had already been expected to extend this period to 2015. However, in the wake of the financial crisis in the country, Korea Electric Power Co is now working to make further adjustments regarding the nuclear component of the long-term plan. A new report is expected to be released by the end of March.