Site work for Shin Hanul 3 and 4 set to start

12 June 2023

Preparatory groundwork is set to begin for the construction of units 3 and 4 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant following the approval by the South Korean government of the project's implementation plan. Construction of the units is expected to begin next year when a construction permit is set to be granted.

An artistic impression of Shin Hanul 3 and 4 (Image: KHNP)

The implementation plan was approved on Monday during the 73rd meeting of the Power Development Project Promotion Committee. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Maritime Affairs, the Fire Administration and the Forest Service.

The approval of the plan effectively approved 20 licensing and permitting procedures under the jurisdiction of 11 ministries required for the construction of nuclear power plants.

In a statement, MOTIE noted that the approval of the implementation plan for Shin Hanul 3 and 4 was completed in 11 months after resumption of units' construction was formalised in the government's energy policy in July last year. "This shortened the schedule by about 19 months compared with the average execution plan approval period of 30 months for the previous three nuclear power plant construction projects," it said.

The implementation plan will take effect when the government publishes the notice of approval in the Official Gazette on 16 June.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) plans to start the site grading work immediately, MOTIE said, adding that the company plans to "quickly proceed" with the construction contract for auxiliary equipment and main facilities. "After that, if the construction permit, which is under review by the Nuclear Safety and Security Committee (NSSC), is obtained, the main construction work, such as the excavation work for the nuclear reactor facility, is scheduled to begin immediately."

In November 2014, KHNP signed an agreement with Ulchin County to build Shin Hanul 3 and 4. The company applied for a construction licence for the units in January 2016. Site preparation for the two units was scheduled to begin in May 2017, with commercial operation of unit 3 scheduled for December 2022, with unit 4 following a year later.

However, KHNP announced in May 2017 that it had instructed Kepco Engineering & Construction - which signed a design contract in March 2016 - to suspend work for the planned units as a result of the then new President Moon Jae-in's policy of phasing out nuclear power. Work towards licensing the new units was to continue.

President Yoon Suk-yeol - who assumed power in May 2022 - has reversed former President Moon Jae-in's policy of phasing out nuclear power. In July last year, Yoon encouraged a speedy restoration of the country's "nuclear power plant ecosystem" after Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang set out plans for revitalising South Korea's nuclear power industry, including the aim for work on Shin Hanul 3 and 4 to resume as early as 2024.

In March this year, KHNP and Doosan Enerbility signed a KRW2.9 trillion (USD2.2 billion) contract for the supply of the main equipment for Shin Hanul 3 and 4. Under the contract - which will run for 10 years - Doosan Enerbility will supply the nuclear reactors, steam generators and turbine generators for the two APR1400 units. A ceremony to mark the start of production of the main components for Shin Hanul 3 and 4 was held last month.

Shin Hanul unit 3 is scheduled to be completed by 2032, and unit 4 by 2033.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News