The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced on 4 September 2017 that it had signed contracts with several local companies, including Kepco Plant Service & Engineering and Doosan, to develop the technology to dismantle South Korea’s first decommissioned nuclear reactor, unit 1 at the Kori NPP.
The contracts will focus on the development of decommissioning technologies such as those used to measure contamination at the reactor site and simulate the dismantlement, chemical decontamination and waste disposal processes. KAERI said it has secured 27 of the 38 technologies needed for complete dismantlement of a nuclear reactor and is at the laboratory verification stage for the remaining 11 technologies, for which it aims to gain the necessary expertise by 2021.
KAERI expects it to take more than 15 years to dismantle the 576MWe Kori 1, which began operation in 1978. Its original 30-year design life, which ended in 2007, was extended by an additional ten years. The government announced the closure of the Kori 1 in June.
President Moon Jae-in also plans to shut down South Korea’s oldest reactor unit, Wolsong 1 and intends to ban reactor lifetime extensions. He has suspended construction of Shin-Kori 5&6 NPP pending the results of a public consultation. Plant owner and operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power has already completed 28% of the units at a cost of around $1.3bn and is expected to take legal action if the plant is cancelled.
South Korea currently has 24 reactor units in commercial operation.