South Korea on Friday started building two new nuclear reactors that will use only locally-made components for all their critical systems, the government said.
The reactors, being built at the Uljin power plant in North Gyeongsang province, will be based on the Advanced Power Reactor (APR) design that can generate 1,400 megawatts electricity, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.
"The reactors mark a turning point for South Korea's commercial nuclear energy program because no foreign-made parts are used in the most important areas," the Yonhap news agency reported quoting the Ministry.
Both the man-machine interface system that helps run the power generation unit and the reactor coolant pumps were designed and manufactured in the country. In the past, such systems were imported or based on foreign design, the Ministry said.
The Ministry in charge of the country's industrial and energy policy said special safety measures had been incorporated into the design of the reactors following lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
The government has set aside seven trillion won ($6.18 billion) to build the reactors at the Uljin power plant located some 330 kilometers southeast of capital Seoul.
Construction of the first reactor is expected to be completed around April 2017 and the second by February 2018.
South Korea currently has 21 commercial reactors and has plans to build 12 new ones by 2022 in an effort to reduce the country's dependence on crude oil, natural gas and coal.
by RTT Staff Writer
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