SEOUL — The government issued a natural disaster alert after a wildfire broke out in the county of Uljin on Friday, where the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. operates six nuclear pressurised water reactors. Output for one of the six reactors was reduced on Friday afternoon due to unstable weather conditions, its website showed.
South Korea was deploying nearly 2,000 firefighters and troops on Saturday to battle a large wildfire that tore through an eastern coastal area and temporarily threatened a nuclear power station and a liquified natural gas plant.
The fire, which began Friday morning on a mountain in the seaside town of Uljin and spread across more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) to the nearby city of Samcheok, destroyed at least 90 homes and other buildings and prompted the evacuation of nearly 6,000 people.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths. South Korea’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety said officials were investigating the cause of the blaze, which grew rapidly amid strong winds and dry conditions.
As of Saturday morning, more than 1,950 firefighters and troops as well as 51 helicopters and 273 vehicles, were being deployed to contain the fire. Hundreds of firefighters worked overnight to successfully prevent the blaze from spreading to an LNG production facility in Samcheok.
President Moon Jae-in issued an alarm Friday afternoon as the fire reached the perimeter of a seaside nuclear power plant in Uljin, forcing the operator to reduce operations to 50% and cut off some electricity lines as preventive measures.
Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to the plant and kept the blaze under control before winds drove it northward toward Samcheok, said Kang Dae-hoon, a National Fire Agency official.
Officials didn’t immediately say when they expected the fire to be under control.
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