South Korea is expected to return to nuclear power generation under the new government.
Shin-Hanul No. 1 and 2 nuclear reactors in Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, are seen in this undated file photo provided by North Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)
South Korea is likely to backtrack on its years-long nuclear phase-out campaign, with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol pledging to abandon the policy and turn the country into a powerhouse in the world. the production of nuclear energy.
President Moon Jae-in has championed breaking away from nuclear power since taking office in 2017 by retiring old plants and refraining from building new ones.
But Yoon, as the presidential candidate for the main opposition People Power Party, criticized the policy and pledged to use nuclear power generation to reduce carbon emissions and the energy dependence of the country abroad.
As a first step, the new government is expected to resume the now-suspended construction of two nuclear reactors – Shin-Hanul No. 3 and No. 4 – in the coastal county of Uljin, 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, according to Yoon’s promise.
The project to build the two 1,400 megawatt reactors has been suspended since 2017, when they were due to be completed next year.
Yoon also pledged to continue operating the current nuclear reactors as long as their safety can be ensured, whereby the country will maintain the proportion of the country’s nuclear power at the current level of about 30 percent.
South Korea now has a total of 24 nuclear reactors, and the current government has sought to reduce the number of operating plants to 17 by 2034 in a bid to reduce nuclear power to 23.9. % of the country’s total electricity production by 2030.
In 2017, the government shut down the country’s oldest reactor, Kori-1, in the southern port city of Busan, 39 years after it opened, and closed the Wolsong No. 1 reactor the following year.
Yoon also called for an active push to secure advanced nuclear power technologies, such as small modular reactor technology, and their exports.
It pledged to win orders for more than 10 overseas nuclear power plants by 2030 to create 100,000 high-quality jobs.
To better support exporters, Yoon pledged to establish a whole-of-government entity to support overseas sales of nuclear power plants and devise measures for the participation of civil entities in the construction and operation of nuclear reactors. .
“I will reclaim the ecosystem of nuclear power generation and advance safe nuclear technologies so that they can become a central engine in moving the country forward,” Yoon wrote on his Facebook page last month.
On Thursday, the prosecutor-turned-opposition candidate won a remarkably close presidential election to replace the liberal bloc’s Moon whose single five-year term ends in May. (Yonhap)