South Korea: Energy Official Indicted In Nuclear Reactor Contract Bribery Scandal

Park Young-June, former vice minister in charge of energy, faces charges of taking money to influence a bid to build nuclear reactors prosecutors announced on Tuesday.

According to the Thai newspaper Bangkok Post, Park, 53, is accused of taking KRW50 million, or US$46,000, from Hankook Jungsoo Industries Co in 2010.  In exchange for the money, Park aided the company's bid for a Korean government contract to build reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The company won the contract.

Park is also accused of accepting money from former chief of Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Kim Jong-Shin.  Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power monitors Korea‚Äôs 23 nuclear power plants.

In 2010 Park was working in the Prime Minister's Office and was a close confident of then President Lee-Myung-bak, reports the state funded South Korean news agency Yonhap News.

South Korea's tumultuous nuclear power industry has been plagued with scandal.  Park is the 97th person indicted in a corruption probe targeting the nuclear reactor industry.  Six reactors, including three newly built, were suspended after it was found they had improper control cables.

Nuclear power provides more than 30 percent of electricity in South Korea.