fyi, this is the real reason for a tempoarary reactors shut down.....

Public’s apprehension over nuclear energy grew Monday when officials were forced to shut down two reactors to replace components that had been falsely certified.

In an emergency news conference, Knowledge Economy Minister Hong Suk-woo said that they were non-essential parts like fuses, cooling fans and power switches, which didn’t pose serious safety concerns such as radiation leaks. He added they were also unrelated to a series of malfunction that caused stoppages at reactors this year.

However, halted operations at the two 1 million kilowatt reactors at the Yeonggwang plant in South Jeolla Province stoked fears of potential power disruption as the weather turns colder. The two reactors could remain inoperative until early January as engineers replace more than 5,000 parts with dubious credentials.

“We deeply regret that something like this occurred,” Hong said. “But once again I point out that this has no direct link to the safety of nuclear reactors.”

Prosecutors have started investigating eight manufacturers who supplied the parts based on fraudulent documents, the minister said. All parts supplied for use in Korean nuclear plants require quality and safety warranties from one of 12 international organizations designated by the government.

“Comprehensive safety checks are necessary at these two reactors,” Hong said. “It’s inevitable that we will experience unprecedented power shortages during the coming winter without the two reactors.”

If the reactors fail to come back online as scheduled, he warned of a “dramatic” drop in national power reserves to 300,000 kilowatts in January, compared to the government target of 4.5 million kilowatts.

“Energy authorities are preparing a super-intense power supply emergency plan, which will be put into action in mid-November,” he said.

The eight suppliers under investigation allegedly faked 60 certificates covering nearly 7,700 parts that had been provided at a cost of 820 million won ($750,000) since 2003, the minister said. Of the number, more than 5,200 have been used in five of the country’s 23 nuclear reactors ? 99 percent of them in the two closed reactors.

Hong said prosecutors would investigate the suppliers as well as possible collusion by officials of the state-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP).

Triggered by last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan, safety concerns over nuclear reactors here were fueled in May when five KHNP engineers were charged with trying to cover up a potentially dangerous power failure at Korea’s oldest nuclear Gori-1 reactor.

Such anxieties have shown no sign of letting up with a string of mechanical problems and ensuing stoppages of reactors, the latest of which took place last week.

A growing number of environmentalists and politicians have staged rallies demanding the country become less dependent on nuclear power. Nevertheless, the government moves to rely more on atomic power for its cost efficiency.

Korea operates 23 nuclear reactors, supplying about 30 percent of the nation’s total electricity needs. It plans to build an additional 16 reactors by 2030