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South Korea

Korea Electric Power Corporation

KEPCO is a government agency whose goal is to provide abundant electric power and to develop reliable power resources. The south of Korea traditionally had received its electric power from power stations in present-day North Korea, but the P'yongyang government cut off power to South Korea in 1948. The catastrophes of the Korean War also posed electrical supply problems. The situation had not improved greatly by 1961 when the new military junta merged three smaller electric companies to form the Korea Electric Company (KECO). Seoul invested heavily in KECO, realizing that adequate sources of power were a basic prerequisite to industrialization. In 1982 KECO was reorganized as a public corporation and became known as KEPCO. All shares were owned by the government. In 1988 Seoul decided to sell 30 percent of all shares to the public.

KEPCO, one of the largest public corporations in South Korea, with 30,289 employees, serviced about 99.8 percent of the populace in 1988. It derived about 12 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric sources, 50 percent from thermal sources (coal, oil, and gas-fired), and the rest from a growing number of nuclear power plants. It was hoped that nuclear power would be developed further to lower reliance on oil, gas, and coal imports. KEPCO officials pronounced their nuclear power plants safe from any potential nonmilitary accidents and said that extraordinary measures had been taken to protect the plants in case of a North Korean attack.

Data as of June 1990