IAEA Team Reviews Korea's Earthquake Preparedness

The United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Thursday that a Site and External Events Design (SEED) team had reviewed the Republic of Korea's preparedness for seismic activities related to two nuclear plants that had been subjected to a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in September 2016.

Shin Wolsong NPPThe IAEA sent the team of international experts, including two IAEA staff members and experts from the United States, Argentina and Switzerland, to a five-day SEED mission to review seismic preparedness for the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant and the Shin Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant, both of which are located on the same site in the south-eastern Korean coast. The mission, requested by the Government of the Republic of Korea, ended 18 August. Although a formal report is to be released in three month's time, the IAEA preliminary notice on the mission said the team was impressed with both the attitude and the concrete steps taken to prepare for the possibility of future earthquake activities near the plants.

Both plants are operated by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP).

The team examined the results of inspections carried out after the earthquake as well as the technical basis of hazard assessments and risk analyses. It also reviewed KHNP's mid-term action plans established in response to the 2016 earthquake,” the IAEA said.

The five-member inspection team held talks with managers at both the plant and at KHNP's headquarters in Gyeongju, South Korea. Head of the IAEA's External Events Safety Section Shin Morita said the team was impressed by the company's efforts to “continuously improve safety against natural external events.”

KHNP Executive Vice President Cheong-ro Yoon, in turn, said that the company would “expand uppon the experiences and knowledge it has gained” in reaction to the 2016 earthquake to apply that to “all nuclear power plants including the Kori, Hanbit and Hanul sites.”

The IAEA applauded efforts the government's nationwide plan for assessing seismic hazards, enabling KHNP to update parameters of site-specific external natural hazards and KHNP's new organization, the Seismic Engineering Office, “aimed at continuously improving safety against seismic hazards at all nuclear sites in the country.”

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