•  Jong-Shin Kim 

     KimPresident and Chief Executive Officer 

     

    What actions has KHNP carried out in response to the Fukushima accident and what can be done at existing nuclear plants to ensure their safety in response to learning from Fukushima?

    Right after the Fukushima accident, KHNP carried out self-safety reviews of all 21 units in operation and received a special safety review by a government-organized team of experts outside the company. The results of the reviews showed that Korean nuclear power plants were safe from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

    Also, the IAEA's IRRS (Integrated Regulatory Review Service) on Korean regulatory bodies found that Korea's response to the Fukushima accident was timely and effective, and that Korean nuclear power plants maintained the best possible safety.

    Nevertheless, KHNP has established 56 short and long-term improvement plans to enhance the safety of nuclear power plants currently in operation against serious natural disasters. These plans are being broadly implemented not only in the operating plants but also in the plants under construction and will be completed by 2015.


    Has your company been involved in the recovery operations at Fukushima?

    After a month from the Fukushima accident, I visited TEPCO and met its executive members and key figures of the Japanese nuclear industry. We discussed measures to help restoration work of the Fukushima nuclear power plant site. KHNP gave full support both in material and technical ways by sending protective face masks, filters and boric acid. As technical assistance, we dispatched 2 experts on severe accident and disaster measure to WANO Tokyo Center to follow up the progress of the accident and to actively support restoration work on the spot.


    In light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident, what does the world nuclear industry as a whole need to do?

    A nuclear power plant accident is not a problem of the sole country where the accident happens but a common issue that neighboring countries and the entire international community should work together to cope with. What's most important is the transparent disclosure and sharing of information when an accident occurs. It is relieving to see that an international cooperation system for nuclear safety is being reinforced in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.


    Has Fukushima changed your opinion of nuclear power and what do you see as the future for nuclear power?

    The global demand for energy is continuously on the rise and greenhouse gases generated from burning fossil fuels is still troubling the earth. Alternative energy should be environment-friendly; ensuring a sustainable supply of low-cost and high-efficiency energy. Thus, I think nuclear energy is still the most viable alternative.

    It is true that the nuclear industry is having difficulties in expanding its business after the Fukushima accident. A nuclear power plant is truly a concentration of advanced technologies and the key point is how safely we take advantage of it. Technologies have been developed in a way that nuclear energy has become much safer and improvements will be continuously made as we keep doing our best for the further advancement of nuclear technologies.

    If we enhance safety to the level that nuclear power plants are safe even against the worst possible natural disasters, nuclear power will be able to serve as a useful tool to contribute to economic development and prosperity of our lives.


    What features do new reactor designs offer to address the issues faced at Fukushima?

    The Advanced Power Reactor 1400(APR 1400) is an evolutionary pressurized water reactor with an electric output of 1,400MW developed in Korea based on 40 years operation experiences and technology advancements. APR1400 is under construction in Korea and UAE. Advanced design features, such as direct vessel injection, passive fluidic device, Passive Auto-catalytic Recombiners(PARs) and Emergency Containment Spray Backup System(ECSBS) are adopted in APR1400 in order to enhance safety. Among them, passive fluidic device and PARs are passive safety devices operable without electricity.

    In order to make inroads into the various nuclear power plant markets like Europe, KHNP has made design improvements against air-craft crash and earthquakes to fundamentally prevent any possibility of serious accidents like the Fukushima accident. The newly upgraded reactor is designed with Passive Auxiliary Feedwater System(PAFS) which can provide cooling water through natural circulation without any external power source when an extremely severe accident takes place and all power sources are lost.