As a part of the three-week training camp for the new interns at Korea Power Exchange (KPX), we were taken to actual power plant sites. I'm guessing that this was designed let us get the feeling of the real hardware behind the machineries that produce electricity for the nation. It would also double as a reviewing process for all the studies we did in the training sessions during the past week. Last week, we went to the Taean thermal power plant, conveniently located next to the training center we're staying for the second and third week of the training, Korea Power Learning Institute (KPLI). This week, we went to a place tad farther away. A place that shares a lot of similarities with a thermal power plant but also quite different in many aspects - a nuclear power plant.
I've personally visited a nuclear power plant once before. About half a year ago I paid a brief visit to Gori nuclear power plant with my parents, which is located near Ulsan, my hometown. We didn't schedule any appointment for a formal tour and it was late in the day, so all we did was have a look around the information center. I was only able to have a glimpse of the actual power plants over the hill from a relatively distant location. Visiting a nuclear facility again wasn't in the top list of priorities, but the fate apparently wanted to give me a second chance.
Fast forward to 8:50AM, April 24, 2006. All the interns gathered around in front of the main building of KPLI and got on a typical tour bus. We were headed for Yeonggwang nuclear power plant, located in Yeonggwang-gun, Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province). Yes, it's the same Yeonggwang famously known for 'gulbi', or dried corvina, the fish often found on a classic Korean meal. It would be a three-hour drive to south.
To ease the boredom and fatigue of the road trip, the bus made a brief stop at Seocheon service area around 10:30AM, which is at the midpoint of the destination. Everyone got off the bus to get a whiff of the fresh air. We bought beverages and snacks for everyone as well. While the beverages were promptly consumed, the snacks were left untouched - we were anticipating a nice lunch soon.
Our bus continued on the journey until it entered a small seaport at 10 till noon. This was Beopseong-po (po means port) of Yeonggwang-gun, home of the gulbi. We got off the bus to find ourselves in front of a big local restaurant. Since the nuclear power plant wasn't very far away and it was time to eat, we stopped here. Guided by the restaurant staff, we were seated around tables in a large hall. The room was big enough to serve a hundred. Basic side dishes were already waiting for us; shortly after we settled down various main dishes made a series of quick appearance on the table.
Most of the dishes served were fish and other seafood like shrimp and crab. Of course, they didn't forget gulbi into the mix, but I had the impression that it didn't have the sort of dominance I was expecting from what was supposed to be a proper gulbi meal. Because there were so many tasty dishes to try, it was a shame we couldn't completely finish them off the plate. I guess that's the downside of a proper Korean meal (a.k.a. jeongsik): it focuses on the volume and variety. After the meal, we washed down the mouth with coffee or tea. Many of us then went out to the dock across the street and enjoyed the fresh(?) scent of the sea.
Everyone got back on the bus again, and it was about 12:40PM. We would now head to our intended destination.