Country profile: Republic of Korea

Summary figures for 2016

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
OECD Pacific
OECD Total
1 877.5
NEA Total
2 061.1

* Preliminary data

Country report

Nuclear power plants

The first Korean-designed advanced pressurised reactor 1400 (APR1400) officially entered commercial operation in December 2016. The Shin Kori NPP unit 3 in the south east of Korea was connected to the grid in January 2016. The total number of power reactors in operation in Korea is now 25 and the installed capacity is 23.1 GWe, accounting for 22.1% of the country's total generating capacity.

Nuclear policy

The 5th Comprehensive Nuclear Energy Promotion Plan (CNEPP) and a five-year-nuclear R&D programme for 2017-2021 were released in January 2017. The fifth plan establishes four policy directions, which are: ensuring utmost safety, preparing future demand, strengthening industrial competitiveness and enlarging communication. A five-year nuclear R&D programme has been established covering all areas in nuclear research, and focusing on the safety and spent fuel management area.

In July 2016, the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Energy (MOTIE) announced a basic plan for high-level radioactive waste management. According to the plan, an integrated site at which a site-specific URL, interim storage facility and repository are co-hosted will be selected. Meanwhile, construction of the second disposal facility at the Wolsong Low and Intermediate Level Waste Disposal Centre (WLDC) started in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2020.

Nuclear safety and regulation

Following recommendations of the IAEA IRRS Mission in July 2011, the Nuclear Safety Act was amended in June 2016; the concept of "severe accident" was defined and the legal foundation for severe accident safety management was established.

An earthquake of a magnitude of 5.8 occurred in September 2016 near Gyeong-ju city, about 28 km WNW of the Wolsong NPP. The plants were shut down manually and went through subsequent seismic safety inspections. In December 2016, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) decided on an improvement plan for nuclear installations to provide against large-scale earthquakes as part of its follow-up measures.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017