The head of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), Jong-shin Kim, has resigned in the wake of a safety-related incident at the Kori nuclear power plant and subsequent concerns over safety culture.
|Jong-shin Kim makes his mark on the pressure vessel of one of the new reactors his firm built for South Korea (Image: KHNP)
KHNP is the state-owned utility that operates 23 nuclear power reactors. The move by Kim was announced to journalists by the responsible minister, Sukwoo Hong, who added that the resignation is expected to be accepted by President Lee Myung-bak.
According to that expected schedule, Hong will now consider a range of candidates for Kim's replacement.
Korea's faith in its highly successful nuclear sector was shaken last month by revelations of a safety-related incident that occurred in February. During a maintenance shutdown a worker who had not been following proper procedure accidentally broke the connection to the grid and caused a 12-minute station black-out at Kori 1. The manager of the reactor decided to conceal this, despite a legal obligation to notify the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) of the technical emergency situation.
The circumstances of the incident and its cover-up have been the subject of investigation by the NSSC. The reactor manager was dismissed after admitting his actions.
Kim had held the top position at KHNP since 2007, being reappointed in 2010 following recognition of his role in a Korean consortium's successful bid to export four large reactors to the UAE.
KHNP made no statement on the matter.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News