South Korea’s nuclear power reactors have not been designed to deal with military attacks, a report submitted to a lawmaker by the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) showed Sunday.
The evaluation sent to Rep. Kim Jong-hoon of the conservative Liberty Korea Party revealed that the outer protective wall of local reactors were never meant to withstand a missile strike or other forms of concerted attacks.
The reinforced concrete walls are the last barrier built around reactors that can contain radioactive materials from being leaked into the surrounding area in the event of a serious accident.
“They have been designed from the outset only to remain standing in the face of typhoons, earthquakes and other forms of natural disasters,” the lawmaker said. He pointed out that the casing can deflect the blast of explosions and debris from the inside, although not from external strikes or even the kind of terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
Early, President Donald Trump has called for Beijing to use its influence as Pyongyang’s most important trading partner and ally to pressure North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs.
But Pyongyang has pressed ahead with missile launches and has been observed making preparations to test a sixth nuclear device.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said Wednesday on board an aircraft carrier in Tokyo Bay that any use of conventional or nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “overwhelming and effective” response by the U.S. military.