SEOUL - South Korean President Lee Myung- bak on Wednesday ordered a safety check-up on local nuclear reactors as a nuclear crisis in neighboring Japan spawns concerns at home, local media reported.
Lee sent science minister Lee Ju-ho to Gori, home to five nuclear reactors, to assess the country's preparedness for natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami, as quake-ravaged Japan grapples with a stricken nuclear power plant, Seoul's semi- official Yonhap News Agency said citing unnamed sources.
Officials here have repeatedly reassured the anxious public that Japan's nuclear debacle has not affected South Korea, and that domestic nuclear reactors are resistant to earthquakes of around 6.0 magnitude.
South Korea operates 21 nuclear reactors, which supplies around 40 percent of electricity here, and is currently searching for sites to construct more down the road. The first one was built in 1978, after South Korea had to shift its attention from thermal power to an alternative energy source after the two oil shocks of the 1970's.
The country also aims to become one of the top exporters of nuclear reactors and nuclear technology, planning to sell 80 nuclear reactors worth $400 billion by 2030.