New agreement brings North Korean reactors closer

29 December 2001

A contract to build two light water reactors in North Korea has been signed by South Korea’s state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), and a consortium of four South Korean companies.

The four companies are Hyundai Engineering and Construction, which holds a 50% stake in the consortium; Dong Ah Construction, which holds 20%; and Daewoo and Korea Heavy Industries, which each hold 15%.

The new agreement follows a contract signed in 1999 between Kepco and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO), in which Kepco became the prime constructor for the two-unit station. KEDO itself is a US-led consortium formed to provide North Korea with the two-unit station plus fuel oil supplies until they were completed. In return, North Korea agreed to put its nuclear weapons programme on hold, and not to complete a gas-graphite reactor and reprocessing plant that were under construction at Nyongbyon (see NEI, October 2000, p34).

The new reactors will be sited at Sinpo and work has already begun to prepare the site. They will be based on the Korean Standard Nuclear design used by Kepco at Yongwang 5 and 6 and Ulchin 3 and 4. This is in turn based on the System 80 designed by Combustion Engineering, now part of ABB-CE.
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