SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has selected global ship classifier Lloyd's Register to review the safety certificates of the country's nuclear reactors in the wake of a scandal over forged documents, the energy ministry said.
South Korea, Asia's fourth largest economy, has faced a series of shutdown of nuclear reactors due to fake documents going back to late 2012. Of the country's 23 reactors, six remain offline, including three halted in May to replace cables that were supplied with bogus certificates.
Lloyd's, which also assesses and advises on power generation operations, will examine the country's quality and safety certificates for the next two years, starting in mid-October, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.
The classifier will work with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd, which runs all the country's nuclear reactors, the ministry said. Up until now, the operator had conducted the examinations.
Lloyd's will check whether local certification documents are forged, and if fake certificates are found, the government will notify the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.
Korea supplies a third of its electricity using nuclear power. With the outages this past summer, it narrowly avoided blackouts between June and August by curbing power use some 6,000 megawatts (MW) via a nationwide energy-savings campaign.
South Korea has been criticized for a lack of transparency over safety in its nuclear industry, and for allowing one ministry to both oversee and promote the industry.
The energy ministry issued a tender in March to hire an international body to check the safety of South Korea's 23 nuclear reactors.
(Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue)