S Korea to cut power use as quarter of nuclear-fired units shut

S Korea to cut power use as quarter of nuclear-fired units shut

SEOUL - South Korea will start a winter campaign on Monday to curb peak power demand as a quarter of its nuclear units are offline, including one shut as planned on Thursday for maintenance.

Such campaigns in Asia's fourth-largest economy have become routine during peak demand periods since late last year due to the nuclear safety scandal that has shut some nuclear units and delayed others from starting up operations.

The energy ministry said on Thursday power-saving measures include keeping indoor temperatures at 18 degrees Celsius, and limiting lighting and the use of individual electrical heaters at public firms, "as anxiety over winter power supply could be hiked depending on when three nuclear reactors are restarted."

If the restarts of the three reactors shut in late May to replace control cables supplied with fake certificates are delayed beyond the end of this year, this could cause unstable power supply during the coldest winter months, the ministry said in a statement.

The government plans to impose penalties of up to 3 million won (S$3,600) from Jan. 1 on any shops which turn on heaters while leaving doors wide open.

Of South Korea's 23 reactors, which account for a third of the country's power supply, six are offline as of Thursday including the three for cable replacement.

A fourth shut earlier on Thursday for a scheduled maintenance through Jan. 19 according to reactor operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

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