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The whole story, detailed in an amazingly honest fashion by World Nuclear News today details the procurement bribery scandal that rocked the  Korea Hydro and Nuclear Powerworkforce be extended to sub-contractors (from whence the bribery originated).

Obviously this raises many question including how long this has been going on (probably since the start of the program in 1977) to how extensive and 'effective' it has been to issues of government collusion to the biggest one of all: safety.

On the latter, it appears that safety overall has not been effected. It's hard to hide nuclear malfeasance. People tend to find out about it, like the recent emergency shutdown of a plant that had auxiliary diesel start up issues and was hidden from Korean's nuclear safety regulator by plant management.

KEPCO has had no major accidents and safety, despite both scandals, doesn't appear to have been effected, as I noted. Investigations are still underway.

Korea continues to expand it's nuclear fleet with Gen III reactors, and continues to push overseas in the worlds rapidly expanding nuclear deployment. Nuclear in Korea is at 39% of generation and is aiming for 59%. As the capacity factor (actually producing power) of Korean nukes is the highest in the world, close to 95%, this means that actually nuclear there provides 45% of all electrical generation. At 59% it is likely to provide 75% of Korea's electrical energy needs.

I might add that Korea is also investing in renewable energy projects [the source here is a pro-renewable web site--DW] as well but it will be totally supplemental to the extensive nuclear grid they are building.

Here is the article from WNN:

Prosecutors have arrested 22 people as they investigate alleged widespread corruption surrounding Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power's (KHNP's) procurement processes.

An investigation began in September 2011 after a tip-off from a citizen in Ulsan, who reported that he may have witnessed bribery. This led to the arrest on 24 March this year of one KHNP employee and further investigation has now unveiled what prosecutors called 'a wide range of corruption and irregularity'.

The problem stretched from head office to the power plant, throughout the procurement process in which utility officials liaised with companies through professional brokers.

Prosecutors said that one supplier submitted an inflated price for work related to man-machine interface systems. A purchaser was then bribed KRW80 million ($69,000) to accept this as a standard price. One KHNP employee involved in this had personal business interests in the supplier, while a senior official was bribed to remain silent.

Another example detailed by the prosecutor concerned a supplier using single-clip ties to secure insulation within a nuclear power plant's containment building, whereas a double-clip tie should have been used. Over 3 years and six months, the company paid a plant employee KRW80 million ($390,000) to keep quiet.

Other examples of alleged wrongdoing included a KHNP worker who was paid to remove small nuclear power plant components and pass them on so that a company could copy them. Another gained KRW100 million ($86,000) from insider trading of shares in suppliers. And the suppliers themselves were said to have colluded over electronic bidding processes. For their part, brokers also engaged in bribery when registering companies to bid for contracts.

The investigation has so far identified 22 individuals and nine companies that it accuses of exchanging some KRW2.2 billion ($1.9 million) in bribes. Reports in South Korean media indicate several more people could be indicted as the investigation continues.

Ulsan prosecutors underlined that corruption related to a nuclear power plant was made more serious by the potential implications for safety and for that reason heavier punishments could be expected.

KHNP is the operator of South Korea's 23 nuclear power reactors, which between them produce about one third of the country's electricity.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:13:36 AM PDT

  •  Aggressive regulation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jam, Tinfoil Hat

    and completely independent monitoring should be mandatory for all power generation and distribution systems . . . be they nuclear reactors, gas pipelines, or rooftop solar installations.

    Can't trust nobody . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:36:06 AM PDT

    •  Deward, I agree 100%. Well said and simply (0+ / 0-)

      as well.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And part of that agressive regulation should... (0+ / 0-)

      ...include the requirement that all coal, gas, oil and even wood plants should be required to store, on site, any side products of their operations that any could imagine causing harm at any time in human history.

      That would include gaseous products.

      Also, they should be required to prove that these waste products can be stored in a permanent repository until the Andromeda Galaxy collides with the Milky Way in 3 billion years.

      I mean this is the seeming requirement that people would like to extend to the nuclear industry.

      What's good for the goose, as they say, is good for the gander, no?

  •  Rampant corruption (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the nuclear industry? Say not so!

    Well, at least South Korea has dared to actually investigate, arrest and charge some of the culprits in this circular back-scratching and palm-greasing operation. Which is more than Japan has been willing to do to TEPCO (et al., meaning all other nuclear corporations in Japan) for relying on the Yakuza to supply illegally conscripted grunt workers, construction and maintenance low-bids at all their plants through the decades of their operation, etc., etc., etc.

    And certainly more than the U.S. would ever do about our nuclear industry's ties to organized crime in just about all aspects of the industry except responsible utility personnel concerned with physical operations.

    Here's hoping that the new scrutiny on nukes in the wake of Fukushima leads to some interest from nuclear nations worldwide in actually enforcing regulatory requirements for a change. But I'm not dumb enough to be holding my breath on that.

    P.S. I appreciated your article on Not that I think the situation will ever change or anything, given that the nuclear industry has basically been exempt from whistleblower protections for the entire history of its existence.

    •  Thank you Joieau. I saw your comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Japanese can take some lessons from Korea, obviously. I think the US is more an outlier. The NRC rules and recs are generally the gold standard around the world. corruption of the type we see in the article on KEPCO is not the kind we've seen in the U.S. I think you'd be hard-pressed to prove a similarity.

      First off all the major differences here, in both cases at KEPCO, is that we're talking actual bribes. This is not unimportant. I'm reporting this largely because it's a good thing the gov't is doing this. But even here I'm personally reserving judgment of this being 'good', or, rather, enough, pending this ongoing investigation. I want to see what more will come out, the limits of this, as I suggest, etc.

      In some ways the problems with the US are more akin to the problems with Japan, where it is largely an issue of regulatory lapses and deliberate ignoring (not that this occurs in the US per se). Of course even here it's stretch, as the NRC/Industry/Public relationship, for all its' warts and blemishes, is amazingly transparent compared to both Korea and Japan.

      One the advantages the Koreans have is that KEPCO is largely a state run entity. My own sources in Korea, at KEPCO actually, tell me that this facilitated the turning over of documents without neary a whisper of dissent as top management is appointed basically by the government.

      Not so in Japan (and the US) largely privatized electrical industry.

      There are virtually no strong movements against nuclear in Korea due to Korea important 90% of it's energy from overseas.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:44:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, I respectively disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      I disagree with your use of the term in any context, "I'm not dumb enough..."

      You certainly weren't smart enough to manage to get the half life of even one half-life correct when discussing nuclear physics, not one.

      Not smart enough to get one, NOT ONE, right.

      Last week it was a hundred and eighteen degrees in the shade in Kansas.

      In 2003, 70,000 people died from the heat.

      To which, in response to practically every climate scientist on earth you  had this to say, typical of the glib indifference to humanity expressed freely be the anti-nuke cults.:

      Could just be weather, (0+ / 0-)
      you know. Which is quite a different subject than actual climate change. I did look at the calendar today, and sure enough, it's July 1st. Honest to goodness summer here in the northern hemisphere, where it gets up into the 90s and even triple digits for days at a time through the height of the season. Pretty much always has, just like it gets bone-chilling cold for days at a time through the height of winter. Always has...

      Hence while it's sure darned hot, it's not exactly unheard-of. Oddly enough, droughts aren't that rare either. Why, back in my parents' day there was a whole Dust Bowl thing happening in the southern midwest, it didn't rain for years and years. crops dried up, houses and town got buried in blowing dust, Okies migrated en masse to California looking for viable cropland.

      Honestly, if we're to panic and scream that every heat wave, cold snap, tornado outbreak, thunderstorm, hurricane and/or blizzard is Global Climate Change Writ Large, we just might end up shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot. People who actually live their lives in the world with enough functional memory to recall the last decade or two or three's worth of weather will simply tune it out as hyperbole (Chicken Little stuff). Is that going to be helpful?

      by Joieau on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 04:08:05 PM EDT

      [ Parent ]

      If we attributed these remarks to anyone on Fox News, no one would fail to believe it.


      I hold those who hate the world's largest, by far source of climate change gas free primary energy, solely out of fear, superstition and ignorance, responsible for those 70,000 deaths, just as I hold them responsible for the deaths of 3.3 million people per year - half under the age of 5 - who will die this year from air pollution.

      It's amazing how many anti-nukes burn coal fired electricity to pray aloud that someone, anyone, will eventually die to validate their bizarre and morally hollow Fukushima fetish.

      This year the concentration of dangerous fossil fuel waste in the planetary atmosphere will rise by the fifth largest amount ever recorded, and what have you to offer?

      Bill O'Reilly rhetoric.

      In the next few years, epidemiologists may record the number of deaths attached to the droughts, fires and heat waves associated with this year.

      Heckuva job anti-nuke.   You must be very proud of the results of anti-nuke ignorance, fear, and superstition.

      "Not dumb enough..."

      What a laugh.

  •  People ask me why I run these 'sorts' of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    blog entries/diaries if I'm "pro-nuclear". I am, very, as Joieau will tell you. As will others. This doesn't at all represent a change of face for me. I consider the above diary a VERY pro-nuclear one as well as the one I ran last week on defending nuclear whistle blowers. It is only through transparency and free  discussion can any industry be made truly safe.

    My starting point has been as a union members (IBEW, rtr.) and a REAL socialist, someone who opposes the private investor owned market driven religion of capitalism. In other words, me, not Obama, is a socialist. So I intrinsically don't trust private enterprises at many different levels. But..

    I also see the empirical evidence of the role energy places especially as it were, under globalized capitalism today. This is why I subscribe to many (but not all) of the basic tenents of this document, 50% of which deals with energy:

    This means I have to look at what is actually out there, the results of carbon emissions, the role of fossil fuel and look forward and advocate solutions that address humanity's energy needs in way that is the least destructive and assures us the best sustainable energy. What can allow for the need expansion of the productive forces for the entire world.

    For me this means subjecting nuclear technology to exacting standards and examination something that should happen regardless of the mode of production, whether it be under investor ownership or under state ownership.

    It means making it 'better', fixing that which is flawed and supporting it's deployment.

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 11:59:55 AM PDT

  •  The quoted numbers seem wrong (0+ / 0-)
    Nuclear in Korea is at 39% of generation and is aiming for 59%. As the capacity factor (actually producing power) of Korean nukes is the highest in the world, close to 95%, this means that actually nuclear there provides 45% of all electrical generation. At 59% it is likely to provide 75% of Korea's electrical energy needs.
    The latest edition of the Monthly Electricity Statistics from show the proportion of Korea electricity generated from nuclear was 29% in 2011, and 25% in the first quarter of 2012. Quite a difference between that and the 45% claimed.
    •  you may be right. (0+ / 0-)

      I stand corrected. Check sources. The "45%" however is's what is actually produced in real terms which is why I used the WNA quote. This is because that almost 30% actually does produce 45% of the power due to it's very high capacity factor. Sort of amazing but true as the steam plants fueled by coal, gas and oil don't stay one line as long.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 10:31:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 45% isn't correct (0+ / 0-)

        The numbers I provided were not electrical generation capacity, which seems to be what you are thinking they are. I was citing actual generation. 2011: 498 TWh, 143 TWh (29% of it) from nuclear. Jan-Mar 2012 (no newer data than that from IEA yet) 135 TWh, 33.5 TWh (25% of it) from nuclear.

        The proportion of electricity generated from nuclear in Korea was around 40% in 2000, and declined over the next decade as fossil fuels dominated other sources in meeting increased demand, to be 29% last year and 25% so far this year.

        Not having looked at data from last century I don't know if there ever was a year Korea got 45% of its electrical energy from nuclear, as you claim they do now, but if there was such a year then it was certainly before 2000. Your source for 45% is either wrong or more than a decade out of date.

          •  Doesn't mean it actually happened (0+ / 0-)

            IEA stats show 37% for 2005, and similar for 2004 and 2006.

            The WNA 44.7% stat for 2005 shows a surprising one-off 20% increase compared to the 38% from nuclear in the years immediately before and after, but doesn't show raw generation amounts to back that up. It strains logic that a nation with a fairly consistent high capacity factor in its operating nuclear plants would have a single-year 20% spike in its proportion of electricity obtained from that source. It would have required a few new reactors to suddenly appear, operate for one year, then mysteriously vanish.

            I also don't think 2005 is very applicable to what the diarist claimed as present tense. Their proportion from nuclear has declined quite a bit in the years since then.

            •  So, the Koreans via the (0+ / 0-)

     say nuclear provides 40% of the ROK's power. [Korean Atomic Industrial Forum]

              The 60% goal is was stated by Hee-Yong Le, Senior Vice-President at South Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) at:  as to whether that be capacity or actual capacity factor obviously is questionable. This is for 2030.


              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:20:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There was indeed a time that was true (0+ / 0-)

                As pointed out, it was around 2000. Not even close today.

                You realise that just because a nuclear advocacy group reports or repeats an undated unsourced statistical claim, it isn't necessarily true, right?

                Here's two sources with different methodologies providing actual generation numbers that show it's false. Latest BP statistical review of world energy: 2011 gross generation was 150 TWh nuclear, 520 TWh total, that's 29% from nuclear. Latest IEA monthly electricity statistics as I cited above, 2011 net generation, 143 TWh nuclear and 498 TWh total, also makes 29%.

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