Friday, April 19, 2013

South Korean Updates: Gov't to strengthen inspection of imports for radiation (18 Apr 2013)

Gov't to strengthen inspection of imports for radiation

April 18, 2013
Yonhap News Agency
(2nd LD) industrial output-February
nuclear safety-govt plan
Gov't to strengthen inspection of imports for radiation
SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to widen the scope of its inspection of imports to all ports while significantly boosting its research and development (R&D) efforts to strengthen safety of its nuclear reactors, the government said Thursday.

In a report to President Park Geun-hye, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said it will increase the number of radiation inspection devices from the current 10 to 100 by 2015.

The devices will be stationed at all ports of entry to check radiation levels of incoming shipments.

The commission also said it will increase its R&D spending on nuclear and radiation safety to 40 percent of its total R&D spending within the next five years.

In 2012, the commission spent 89.7 billion won (US$80.2 million) or 25.9 percent of its total R&D fund on developing new technologies and products related to nuclear safety, it said.

South Korea currently operates 23 nuclear reactors, supplying around 30 percent of its total electricity consumption. Many of the reactors, however, are set to run out of their initial operational life spans in the near future with at least one reactor already sitting idle as the government failed to extend its lifespan, at least partly due to public opposition.

"To secure transparency and safety of nuclear reactors that can also be accepted by the people, the commission will disclose to the public even the slightest incident during course of operating the nuclear reactors, along with the outcome of its regular inspections and other safety-related measures," it said in its report.

Thursday's report came after the commission said it will have all 23 nuclear reactors in the country inspected by an independent international organization for safety.

The 10-week special inspection is set to begin May 8, though the commission has yet to name a successful bidder for the project.


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