S. Korea to boost safety measures for nuclear reactors
SEJONG, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's nuclear safety commission on Friday reported a set of measures to enhance the safety of the country's reactors that will include heavier fines for safety-related crimes.
In an annual report to the president, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said it will expand the scope of its inspection from nuclear power plant operators to all related firms that design, manufacture, supply and/or test reactor parts.
"As a way of strengthening the authority of its inspectors, the commission will also consider giving the inspectors the authority similar to that of the police," the commission said in a press release.
It will also seek to encourage more whistleblowers to come forward by reducing penalties to those who provide information about crimes they have taken part in.
The commission said it will stiffen penalties to increase maximum fines against corruption and other safety-related crimes by 100-fold to 5 billion won (US$4.7 million) from the current 50 million won.
The measures follow a corruption scandal where substandard parts had been supplied under fake certificates, causing the shutdown of three nuclear reactors that resulted in daily alarms against power shortage throughout the summer of 2013.
The commission earlier announced plans to review all 37,971 quality certificates for imported parts used in the country's nuclear reactors over the past five years. It has been reviewing all quality certificates for locally produced reactor parts since early 2013.
To better help streamline nuclear policies and safety measures, the commission will create a new, pan-government consultation group that will involve 20 government offices, including the commerce ministry and the environment ministry, as well as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
"It will allow the government to quickly take consistent measures to help the people feel at ease in case of any safety-related accidents or problems by enabling the coordination of measures by each and every related agency," the commission said.