Decision about the construction materials for quake resistant Korean nuclear reactors


It was determined by Greenpeace that an inferior substance is employed in few nuclear power reactors in Korea. Country’s Hydro and Nuclear Power corporation stated that the same substance is utilized in the several parts of world.

Following the reports from Greenpeace, Inconel alloy 600 that has been found hazardous in the past three four decades, is employed in about fourteen power units across Korea whilst United States and France have substituted it with Inconel alloy 690 two decades ago. 

An executive at Greenpeace stated that Inconel 600 has been used in Hanbit third, fourth and more plants that were constructed within past two decades. A disaster at Hanbit 3 unit in October was found to be caused by the leakage in the heat coolant pipes inside the steam generator that was made using alloy 600 and around 12 mishaps using this material have already occurred in these decades.

Observing this problem, the Hydro and Nuclear power agency in Korea stated that Hanbit 3 was malfunctioned not due to the material in fact because of foreign material and Hanbit three and four units are made by installing the same material as employed in American power stations when it was made in 1987. Testing for Inconel alloy 690 was under process while the construction of third and fourth units of Korean nuclear reactors in 1991 and Inconel 690 was used in the steam generators in five among fourteen plants that were using alloy 600, the replacement procedure scheduled for 2018 and 2019 in Hanbit third and fourth units.

Greenpeace also sustained that a major scale damage as compare to Chernobyl and Fukushima during which nuclear fuel rods melt, could take place if the several heat pipes were damaged simultaneously. The company refused the possibility of this risk. The environmental agency also stressed that the company and Nuclear Safety and security commission are however well knowledgeable of the leading issues, but are reluctant to fix them with the sacrifice of cost –effective efficiency.

However the commission confirmed that the earthquake resistant functionality of power production units of Hanul first and second units received least standards and addressed the facilities to be repaired.

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