“We are considering more factors in the design of reactors,” says Mr. Lee. “We are taking more measures to prevent hydrogen explosions” – such as those that ripped away portions of the roof and walls of units at the Fukushima plant – as well as backup systems.
“Currently there is no change to Korea's nuclear energy policy,” says the nuclear industry department of the ministry of knowledge and economy in an e-mail. “We are conducting safety checks on all 21 nuclear units.”
Ministry officials refuse to elaborate on that statement, while nuclear safety officials talk frankly of unresolved issues. They say potential foreign customers are reluctant to negotiate amid fallout from the disaster at Fukushima.
South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries, the company that manufacturers all Korea’s reactors, is in the midst of building reactors for export to the United Arab Emirates, a breakthrough $20 billion deal that was expected to turn Korea into a major reactor exporter. Nobody is talking about delaying or suspending that deal. Korea has put on hold sales pitches to other countries, ranging from Egypt to Malaysia.