Kori Unit 1,South Korea’s first nuclear reactor, ceased operations on the midnight of June 18 after 40 years of operations.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy(MOTIE) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) hosted a ceremony on June 19 at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant in Gijang-gun, Busan to declare the retirement of the reactor. The event was attended by President Moon Jae-in, government and KHNP officials, residents of the hosting region, and civic groups.
President Moon said in a speech during the ceremony that the retirement of Kori Unit 1 marks the first step on Korea’s path to reduced dependency on nuclear energy and ushers in the era of renewable energy.
The MOTIE is currently working on the eighth Basic Plan on Electricity Demand and Supply, which includes forecast for electricity demand as well as the plans for the electricity production mix and power generating facilities.
The construction of the 587-megawatt Kori Unit 1 commenced in December 1972 and cost 1.56 billion won to complete. The reactor entered commercial operation on April 29, 1978.
The first unit of the Kori Nuclear Power Plant reached its 30-year design lifetime in June 18, 2007, and KHNP received an approval from the Nuclear Security and Safety Commission (NSSC) to continue operating the unit 10 more years until June 18, 2017.
In June 2015, the National Energy Committee recommended KHNP to permanently stop Kori Unit 1 with the consideration of economic feasibility, public acceptance and opportunities to foster a domestic decommissioning industry. The KHNP board decided not to seek another 10-year extension of the unit’s operation. In June last year, KHNP applied the NSSC for a change to the operating license of Kori Unit 1 in order to retire the reactor, and the nuclear regulator approved it on June 9 this year.
In the last 40 years, Kori Unit 1 generated a total of 155,260 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity.