Ex-MOTIE Vice Minister Cho Takes Helm at KHNP
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Ex-MOTIE Vice Minister Cho Takes Helm at KHNP
Indicates his determination to innovate the state-run nuclear power operator following his selection

29(Sun), Sep, 2013


Cho Seok, the new president of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co.

    Former Vice Minister for Trade and Energy Cho Seok has been selected as the new president of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP).

KHNP held an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting and approved the appointment of Cho as the new CEO on Sept. 17, replacing Kim Kyun-seop, who resigned from his post in June to take responsibility for the series of unplanned shutdowns of nuclear power units. 

Cho is now faced with the daunting task of innovating the state-run nuclear power company and restoring public trust in the safety of nuclear power units since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which was the result of a strong earthquake and subsequent tsunami. 

The new KHNP CEO-designate said shortly after his selection at the shareholders’ meeting, “I have on my shoulders a heavy burden of responsibility.” Regarding the issue of breaking the mold, Cho said, “I will translate it into action after making preparations in a steady fashion.” He will take office for a three-year term as soon as he receives a certificate of appointment from President Park Geun-hye.

Cho has been credited with having the chops to address pending energy issues, as he played a role in solving the long-standing, controversial issue of finding a site for a low- and intermediate-level radwaste disposal center, which is now under construction in Gyeongju. 

A graduate from the Seoul National University Foreign Affairs Department and Missouri State University Graduate School, Cho began his career as a public servant after passing the 25th higher administrative exam and held such major posts as the director-general in charge of nuclear power business planning at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, director-general in charge of energy policy planning, and director-general of industry and economic policy at the ministry. He later moved on to become the president of Korea Industrial Complex Corp. in August 2011 before he was promoted to vice minister of the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy four month later. 

With leading technology, KHNP is contributing to not only enriching people’s lives with environmentally-friendly energy, but also the development of the nation’s economy by generating cheap and high-quality electricity. 

Realizing its management enhancement goals, the company is now making all-out efforts to play its role to lead Korea’s global competitiveness as the pivotal provider of energy in the “low-carbon, green-growth era.”

KHNP is the largest among the six power generating subsidiaries that were spun off from Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) in April 2001, accounting for approximately 25 percent of electricity producing facilities, hydro and nuclear power combined. Korea also operates nuclear power plants in the Kori, Habit, Hanul, and Wolsong Nuclear Power Complexes and several hydroelectric power generation facilities in the Han River system, providing approximately 50 percent of the nation’s power supply. The power industry was restructured to introduce market competition to ensure that consumers have a stable supply of affordable electricity through maximum corporate efficiency. 

If the power reliability for the last century were 99.9 percent (equivalent to annual blackout time of eight hours), stability now must be improved to 99.9999 percent to support precision control systems and a computer network. In ultra precision industries, success will be predicated on reduced uncertainty in power demand and a consistently stable supply. Amid these changing market conditions, KHNP’s commercial nuclear power plant operation, which started with Kori Unit 1 in 1978, reached a capacity factor of more than 90 percent since 2000. Meanwhile, KHNP intends to maintain a proper management framework and high credit rating while achieving industry-leading profitability and efficiency gains. These ongoing efforts have helped KHNP solidify its global leadership position.

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