Korea Times

South Korea is second-fastest nuclear plant-building country

Average construction period for each plant is less than a third of the global average, says The International Atomic Energy Agency

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 12:02pm

By Jhoo Dong-chan

A study said South Korea is the second-fastest nuclear power plant-building country in the world after Japan, amid rising public concern over safety of nuclear power plants following a series of earthquakes that struck the southeastern region where the most nuclear plants are located. 

According to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) study, Tuesday, 15 countries have built a total of 83 nuclear plants over the last 20 years among the 31 countries with nuclear power. It took on average 190 months to build each plant.

During that period, Korea has built a total of 13 nuclear power plants. The average construction period for each plant was only 56 months, more than three times faster than other countries building nuclear plants. 

Japan, which has built a total of eight nuclear power plants since 1996, was the fastest, taking only 46 months to build each plant, while China ranked third, building 28 nuclear power plants during that period and averaging 68 months to complete each one. 

Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant Unit 6 is the world’s fastest-built nuclear power plant, taking only 39 months for completion, while of Korea’s Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant Reactor 3 took 49 months to build. 

A Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power official said that the nation’s relatively short construction period in building nuclear plants has nothing to do with their safety and durability.

“We were able to shorten the period for building nuclear power plants with advanced construction technologies and geographical infrastructure near the sites. Plus, thorough preparatory investigations of the construction site also helped shorten the period,” he said.

“If there is a problem in the construction, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission wouldn’t approve the project.”

In France, 77 per cent of produced electricity depends on nuclear power, making it the most dependent on nuclear power in the world, while taking an average of 126 months to build each plant, nearly three times as long as Japan.

The United States has a total of 100 nuclear power plants, taking on average 272 months to complete one.