Korea Midland Power Co., or KOMIPO, a power generation subsidiary of the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp., received below-standard marks in a quality test conducted on its Shin-Boryeong coal-fired thermal power plant units 1 and 2, both currently under construction.
As KOMIPO has plans to eventually export the technology, the issue was found to be critical, according to those close to the matter.
The information was revealed by a member of the National Assembly’s Trade, Industry and Energy Committee on Tuesday.
According to Rep. Park Wan-joo of the main opposition Democratic Party, an investigation was launched in November on allegations that KOMIPO had allowed shoddy construction and also fabricated previous quality tests.
Multiple inspections conducted by the Korea Testing and Research Institute for Environment under the Trade Ministry found that parts of the plant did not meet the government’s durability standards.
KOMIPO admitted that there had been problems.
“We confirmed that the results of the recent quality tests are true, but afterwards requested a separate check by the Korea Concrete Institute,” said Kang Suk-joong, a spokesman for KOMIPO.
The institute received satisfactory marks from those tests.
“Quality maintenance is a very important part of our work and we are preparing internal measures to prevent similar concerns in the future,” Kim added.
Park, however, said the earlier test results could still breed public distrust.
Experts say that because concrete is crucial for withstanding extrusion loads, durability is a critical factor for structural stability, especially for structures built near the waterfront.
The construction of Shin-Boryeong thermal power plant units 1 and 2 in Boryeong, South Chungcheong Province, started in November 2011 at a cost of 2.79 trillion won ($2.62 billion).
The 1,000-megawatt thermal power plants, based on homegrown technology, will boast the largest capacity in Korea when units 1 and 2 are completed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.