Korea’s homegrown nuclear power plant “APR1400”, similar to the ones, now being built in the United Arab Emirates, has found its way of tapping the European nuclear power market. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) said the EU-APR, modified to correspond to European safety requirements, has met the European utility requirements (EUR) for LWR nuclear power plants. In June, the APR 1400 has virtually passed a design certification screening by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Shin Kori Nuclear Power Unit 3, outfitted with the APR1400, went into a commercial service last December. The Nuclear Power Units 5 & 6 whose construction was halted recently was to be outfitted with the APR1400. A committee on the public debate will soon decide whether the construction of the units will be resumed or the projects will be scrapped.
Korea has become the fifth country to be certified with the EUR following France, Russia, the United States and Japan. Korea’s archrival China has not yet received the EUR or NRC certification.
The EUR certification is determined by a European association of 14 nuclear power operators from 12 European countries, including the UK, France, Russia and the Czech Republic. The APR1400’s winning of the EUR certification means that Korea has attained a license to export nuclear power plants to Europe.
Of late, a demand to replace the existing old nuclear power plants are is on the rise in such European countries as the UK, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Poland. Chances are high that Korea can land orders to introduce nuclear power units from such counties as the Czech Republic and Finland, a KHNP official said. The exporting of Korean nuclear power plants will be possible to not only Europe but also South Africa and Egypt which demand similar technology levels, he added. Worry is mounting that despite its technology prowess, Korea may lose the global nuclear power market due to the five-year current government’s anti-nuclear policy. The global nuclear power market is projected to stand at 600 trillion won for the next 30 years.
The APR1400’s winning of the EUR certification has enabled Korea to be in a better position to win orders on nuclear power units from Europe. The UK is implementing the Moorside Project to build three nuclear power units in an area northwest of England, which will cost 21 trillion won. Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) and KHNP are now seeking to tap nuclear power unit markets in such countries as the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden.
The APR1400 has already three out of the six design certification stages by the U.S. NRC. It is almost certain the Korean homegrown reactor is to gain a certification from the United States next September.
But Korea’s homegrown G3 nuclear power plant technology whose development was completed in 2002 at a cost of 235 billion won over a decade may die because of the government’s anti-nuclear policy. Korea’s APR1400 may become a changemaker in the global nuclear power market. The U.S. Westinghouse’s AP1000 model obtained a certification from the U.S. NRC, but yet put into a commercial service. The Shin Kori Nuclear Power Unit 5 &6 project, which stands at 29 percent in the overall progress rate, was temporarily suspended. The public debate committee is to give a final say on the fate of the units on Oct. 20. The homegrown nuclear power plants have been already evaluated to be the most advanced ones among nuclear power units in operation in the world in terms of safety and economics, but in Korea, a pro- and con public debate is under the way over the Korean nuclear power plants, citing dangers.
The global nuclear market has suffered a serious setback following the occurrence of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan. The market is yawning anew with a focus on the UK, China, India and the Middle East. A demand on nuclear power generation is surging in China, the Middle East and Africa. Figures released by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) as of July 2017 showed that 59 nuclear power units are now under construction around the world. And 160 more nuclear power units are to be built in Asia, Europe and The Middle East. The global nuclear power industry community projects the global nuclear power market to surge to 600 trillion won in the next three decades.