Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corp. (KHNP) has requested an extension for construction of units 3 and 4 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant untill the end of 2023.

Both units are 1340MWe (net) APR-1400 pressurised water reactors designed by the Korea Electric Power Corporation. KHNP obtained government approval for the units in February 2017 but approval for construction has not yet been given. 

KHNP had planned to complete construction of the two units in late 2022 and late 2023 but the projects were suspended as part of the South Korean government’s nuclear phase-out policy, initiated in 2017. Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in December that it would maintain the nuclear phase-out policy, which involves building no new plants while retiring old ones.

According to the current law, KHNP’s power generation licence will be cancelled if it fails to obtain the construction approval by 26 February. In that case, KHNP will be unable to undertake any new power generation projects for two years. A total of KRW779 billion ($708m) has already been invested in Shin Hanul 4&4 for site and equipment preparation, while Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction has reportedly invested KRW492.7 billion in reactor facilities, turbine generators, etc.

Before construction can begin approval is needed from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission and an environmental impact assessment must be completed. These are unlikely to be completed within the next two years. However, the Ministry is expected to extend the period leaving the next administration to decide whether to proceed with the project.