KEPCO Looks to Step Up Presence in Global Nuclear Power Plant Market

Nuclear plant deal with the UAE certifies Korea¡¯s competitive edge in the resurging market










Korea is redoubling efforts to nurture the domestic nuclear power plant industry into its mainstay exporting industry like the success stories of Korea¡¯s semiconductor, shipbuilding and automobile sectors as the nation joins the club of nuclear power exporters with a nuclear power plant contract with the United Arab Emirates.
Korea¡¯s landing of a contract to build four nuclear power units in the UAE has capped the nation¡¯s 50 years of research on nuclear power and 30 years of constructing and operating nuclear power units. A Korean consortium, led by Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), was awarded the nuclear power deal. KEPCO Chairman Kim Ssang-soo signed the deal with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. Chairman Khaldoon Khalifa last December. The nation has accumulated expertise and experience while building and operating 20 nuclear power units over the past three decades.
Korea¡¯s winning of a research reactor contract with Jordan and the deal with the UAE has certified the nation¡¯s competitive edge in the global nuclear power plant construction industry.
Korea is now 95 percent self-sufficient technologically with the development of the Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400), a Korean-type model localized through Korea¡¯s use of foreign technology from Westinghouse of the United States. The nation is constructing Shin Kori Nuclear Power Units 3 & 4 with the APR1400, which will be employed to build the four nuclear power units in the UAE.
APR1400, a pressurized water reactor, is a Generation III nuclear reactor system, boasting of its eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness and safety, with an earthquake-proof design.
Shin Kori Units 3 & 4, each with a capacity of 1.4 million kW, are to be on line at a cost of a combined 5.73 trillion won by 2013 and 2014, respectively.
APR1400 units will cost about 10 percent less compared to the existing units. Shin Kori Units 3 & 4 will be upgraded with nuclear power performance 2.5 times as high as that of the existing Shin Kori Units 1 & 2.
When the Shin Kori Units 3 & 4 project is completed as planned, Korea will be become the third country to adopt a Generation III reactor system, emerging as Korea¡¯s mainstay export model in the foreign nuclear power market, said government and industry officials.
¡°It is the first time APR1400 nuclear units are being built with our own technology, making it a milestone in the development of the Korean nuclear power market. Korea is set to join other world-class nuclear powerhouses in the full-blown construction of Generation III nuclear units,¡± they said.
Korean companies, including KHNP, have a task ¡ª the development of Generation IV nuclear power systems that advanced nuclear powerhouses are now delving into ¡ª in order to make the futuristic nuclear systems one of Korea¡¯s future growth engines.
In a related development, the staff participating in the Shin Kori Units 3 & 4 project got together at the KHNP Nuclear Power Education Institute in Ulsan on Feb. 25 and pledged to make the projected units quality ones through construction quality improvements and accident-free efforts. Participating in the project are KHNP, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, Hyundai E&C and other contractors.
KHNP President Kim Jong-shin said the construction of Shin Kori Units 3 & 4, developed with Korea¡¯s homegrown technology, should be successful since the exporting of nuclear units to the UAE will be an example. He urged the participants to join forces to elevate the national standing a step higher by constructing world-top quality and safe nuclear power units.
The Korean consortium, which was awarded the nuclear power contract with the UAE is headed by Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and includes Hyundai E&C, Samsung C&T Corp., Doosan Heavy Industries and others.
KHNP officials said the Shin Kori Units 3 & 4 with the APR1400 is adopting the steel plate concrete (SC) structure module engineering method under a pilot program instead of the conventional method of reinforced steel and form to cut down on the construction period. The SC method will be expanded to the construction of the planned Shin Kori Units 5 & 6, in a bid to reduce the construction period and dramatically enhance efficiency.
A TRACK RECORD ¡ª As restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions get stricter and crude oil prices continue to skyrocket, nuclear power is becoming a subject of global attention. Of late, many countries, including the United States, have resumed construction of nuclear power units and show signs of a turnaround following a moratorium.
Korean companies have come from strength to strength competing with nuclear powerhouses, including France and the United States, to explore the global nuclear market.
The nation, which has built almost one nuclear power unit every 18 months since the debut of Kori Nuclear Power Unit 1 in 1978, now has 20 units in operation.
Korea boasts of the world¡¯s top-rated operation performance and price competiveness compared to other rivals¡¯ reactors. The nation saw a nuclear power capacity ratio of 93.3 percent in 2008, quite higher than the 89.9 percent in the United States, 76.1 percent in France, 73.1 percent in Russia, 66.7 percent in Canada and 59.2 percent in Japan. The unit price for Korea¡¯s construction of the APR1400 was the lowest at $2,300/kW in 2008, compared to $2,900/kW for France¡¯s Fusion Power Reactor (FPR), $2,900/kW for Japan¡¯s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) and $3,582/kW for the United States¡¯ APR1000.
The nation has world-class construction experience, the latest construction methods and a powerful supply chain mechanism in all stages ¡ª Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. is in charge of operation and management; KOPEC is charged with design; Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction is producing equipment; Hyundai E&C and Samsung E&C are in charge of construction; Korea Nuclear Fuel is responsible for the supply of nuclear fuel; and Korea Plant Service & Engineering (KPS) for maintenance.
The nation is now developing APR+ with the localization of core technologies, including core code for design technology, a reactor coolant pump and a man-machine interface system, which will turn out to be wholly self-sufficient. The Korean government has set an ambitious goal of joining the ranks of the global top three nuclear power plant exporting nations, calling for exporting 10 units by 2012 and 80 units by 2030 in order to acquire a 20 percent share of the global nuclear power plant construction market.
Here is a look back into the development of the Korean nuclear power industry. Kori Nuclear Power Units 1 & 2 were built on a turnkey basis by foreign companies, wholly dependent on foreign technologies during the 70s.
The construction of Kori Units 3 & 4 as well as Yongkwang Units 1 & 2 was divided among contractors to help the nation acquire technology during the 80s.
Korea developed on its own the OPR1000 (Optimized Power Reactor 1000) as the nation¡¯s standard nuclear plant during the period between 1987 and 1995. Yongkwang Units 3 & 4 and Ulchin Units 3 & 4 were built with the OPR1000.
The nation localized the APR1400 during the period between 1992 and 2002. Shin Kori Units 1 & 2 were built with an improved version of the OPR1000, while Shin Kori Units 3 & 4 are now under construction using the APR1400.
Korea¡¯s development of the APR+ with the localization of core technologies, which is now underway during the period between 2006 and 2012, is to be applied to the planned Shin Ulchin Units 1 & 2. nw

(counterclockwise) KEPCO Chairman Kim Ssang-soo signed a nuclear power deal with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. Chairman Khaldoon Khalifa last December, as President Lee Myung-bak and UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan looked on.; A general view of Shin Kori Nuclear Power Units 3&4, being built with APR1400.; and A delegation from the United Arab Emirates¡¯ government and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp.on March 4 tours the construction site of Shin Kori Units 3&4, whose reactor is the same Korean type of the four nuclear power units, to be built in the UAE.

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