Korea to increase nuclear power output to over 30% by 2030
Department of Energy to Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence, Boost Overseas Energy Supply
By Lee Kyung-min
Korea will increase the share of nuclear power to more than 30 percent of the country’s total energy mix by 2030, the energy ministry announced on Tuesday. This is a clear shift in policy under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, defined by the swift and complete abandonment of the nuclear phase-out initiative led by his predecessor, Moon Jae-in.
The ministry also said that a special law will be established to ensure the private development and supply of energy resources abroad, strengthening the country’s energy security alongside measures to define the methods for calculating the prices of energy. electricity linked to changes in world energy prices.
Dependence on fossil fuels will be lowered in stages to 60% by 2030, from 81.8% currently.
Imports of coal for energy over the same period will be reduced by 40 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe), a unit of energy released by burning one tonne of crude oil. The number of energy innovation companies will double to 5,000 by then, from 2,500 in 2020, creating 100,000 jobs. Details of the renewable energy policy will be unveiled in the fourth quarter of this year.
This set of new energy policy guidelines announced by the Department of Trade, Industry and Energy was approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier today.
Achievable energy mix
The ministry said the overarching goal is to better respond to climate change, energy security risks and foster new energy ventures.
The goal will be achieved by what the ministry called a “feasible and reasonable energy mix”, identified mainly by increasing the operation and accelerating the construction of nuclear power plants, reversing the anti-nuclear campaign under the Moon administration.
“Energy poses a growing threat to national security,” Second Vice Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Park Il-jun said at a press briefing on Monday. “The government must establish new energy guidelines to achieve carbon neutrality.”
The ministry plans to increase the number of nuclear power plants to 28 by 2030, up from 24 last year. Their combined capacity will be boosted to 28.9 gigawatts (GW), from 23.3 GW. The stalled construction of Shin Hanul 3 and 4 reactors will be resumed.
This is a clear change from previous directives under Moon, which aimed to reduce the number of nuclear power plants to 18 by 2031, with a combined capacity limited to 20.4 GW. Nuclear energy should only represent 23.9% of the country’s energy mix over the same period.
“The government is seeking to restore balance in energy policy, long skewed to demonize nuclear power which is much more affordable and stable,” said Lee In-ho, former president of the Korea Economic Association. “But the government should also bear in mind that an indiscriminate push to rely exclusively on nuclear power will backfire.”