(Click on the photos for larger views)


When the KEDO organization was created in 1995, it was expected that the first unit would operate in about 2003. This didn't seem to be overly ambitious since these units in South Korea require about a year to prepare and excavate the site and then between 4 and 5 years to build the plant. However, things are not so simple when it comes to DPRK. The development of the organization and arrangements for funding were complex. Facilities and resources to build a plant in DPRK were essentially non-existent. Finally, work began about 1998. All the infrastructure to support construction had to be planned, arranged and built. As with most sites on the Korean peninsula, the first step was to move a mountain. In order to level the site, approximately 6 million cubic meters of rock and soil were removed. That's roughly a square mile, 6 feet deep. Then excavation began, requiring removal of another million cubic meters.

Here is representation of the overall site as it will appear when complete. The intake channel comes from the sea at the top and discharges back to the sea at the lower right. The lake at the bottom is an existing shallow man made lake used for irrigation and is not used for the plant. The mountain between the ocean and the plant previously extended into the plant site area and was partially removed. The structure at the intake area includes breakwaters and a ship/barge harbor.

This close up conceptual site view shows the two units completed. The domed structures are the reactor containments, of course. They are about 150 feet in diameter. The basic structure of reactor building support building and turbine building is about 200 feet wide and 600 feet long. The entire plant area with supporting buildings  for both units would be equivalent to about 15 football fields.

One of the most daunting problems in building these plants in the DPRK was the almost total lack of existing infrastructure. At this point, the only local materials being used on site are water and gravel. All the cement, steel, construction equipment and even most of the labor is being imported. Originally it was intended to use a combination of skilled South Korean labor and unskilled and semi skilled North Korean labor. However, in the early days of the project, after it was discovered how much higher the wages were for South Korean workers, the North Korean workers went on strike. After negotiations failed, the KEDO organization replaced the North Korean workers with about 700 laborers from Uzbekistan. There are still about 100 service workers from DPRK still employed. Below is a photo of the workers housing area, which is about 3 km from the construction site.

I know it's difficult to see details in this photo, but center left is Uzbek housing. Since they were not initially expected to be on site, they are housed in converted shipping containers. More permanent dormitories are under construction. Center right are apartments for South Korean workers. At the upper right you can see the golf driving range structure. Completed or under construction are stores, restaurants, a hospital, churches, karaoke bar, tennis courts, swimming pool and jogging/cycling path. Farther to the right (not shown) is the golf course. It was planned for 5 holes and has been put on hold but I understand they have graded it and laid down carpet underlayment for greens, so it is playable. As far as we know this is the only golf course in DPRK. The beach is a beautiful sand beach. It's very nice for a site camp but there's a catch - you can't go anywhere from here.

Here is a picture of the Buddhist Temple. There is also a Christian church. Since the Uzbek workers have come on site, they have also set aside space for a Mosque. The facilities on site are built to be permanent. The hospital has full lab resources, operating rooms, dentist, etc. The Karaoke bar has state of the art video equipment.

These are apartments for the South Korean workers who are with the utility. The apartments for the South Korean construction workers have apartments which are not quite as nice but still equivalent to typical housing in Seoul.

Trip to North Korea...