S. Korea president vows to root out nuclear corruption

SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on Thursday ordered officials to wipe out corruption in the nuclear power sector, which has been tainted by a series of reactor shutdowns and scandals.

"We must certainly root out corruption in the nuclear industry," Park told a meeting of her top advisers.

"Corruption at nuclear power plants has fuelled public anger. It makes no sense that nothing has been done about it so long," she added.

South Korea's nuclear sector is struggling to regain public confidence after a torrid year that saw a major scandal over forged safety certificates.

The case fuelled safety concerns that were already high in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis in Japan.

South Korea has 23 reactors which are meant to meet more than 30 per cent of electricity needs.

Until now, Seoul has insisted it will push ahead with plans to add another 16 reactors by 2030.

But last month a government advisory group recommended scaling back the nuclear expansion plans to "minimise social conflict".

Instead of aiming for a 41 per cent share for nuclear power in the national energy profile by 2035, the panel suggested a figure of under 30 per cent.

Its recommendation came after the government's inspection revealed widespread corruption in the industry.

Public prosecutors have charged about 100 people over the scandal involving fake safety certificates.

"We should take this opportunity to make it unimaginable to supply fake or substandard parts," Park said.