MOSCOW, December 27 (Sputnik) – South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor decided to shut down two nuclear reactors under construction after a toxic gas leak led to the death of three workers, Yonhap reports.
"We will promptly conduct an investigation and hold accountable those who are responsible (in the incident) if any irregularities are discovered," Yoo Han-bong, who leads the labor ministry's Ulsan branch, said, as quoted by Yonhap.
On December 25, three workers lost consciousness and later died after apparently inhaling toxic gas said to be nitrogen, Yonhap reported, citing Bae Kyong-min, an official at the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), a subsidiary of the Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO). The workers were only identified by their last names as Hong, Son and Kim, the Korean Times reports. Hong worked for the Hyundai Engineering & Construction subcontracting firm, while a KHNP subcontractor employed Son and Kim.
The incident took place days after hackers launched cyber-attacks on KEPCO, the state-controlled company operating nuclear power plants in the country. Hackers have claimed they can disable the control systems of South Korean power plants.
Friday’s incident was not related to cyber terrorism, said Choi Hee-ye, a spokeswoman for KHNPC, according to the Associated Press.
The New Gori No. 3 reactor was undergoing a trial run. It is scheduled to be put into service in 2015. The New Gori No. 4 reactor, expected to come into operation in 2016, is still under construction, according to Yonhap.