New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

Posted June 20, 2017

A series of earthquakes, which happened previous year, boosted such concerns in South Korea.

The president also promised to reduce coal power stations. The plant was originally created to run for 30 years, but the government decided in December 2007 to extend its operation for another decade.

The South Korean city's move to work closely with Argonne comes as South Korea's oldest commercial nuclear reactor, the Kori-1 reactor, was shut down permanently Monday as part of a broader policy move to end the country's reliance on atomic power.

The announcement was made today by newly installed president Moon Jae-in.

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Two new nuclear reactors now under construction would be subject to a public consultation and may be scrapped.

Moon on Monday also vowed to decommission "as soon as possible" another aged atomic plant in the southeast, whose original 30-year lifespan had been extended by another decade to 2022.

Moon said he will soon reach a consensus on the Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 reactors after fully considering their construction costs, safety and the potential costs of paying compensation. Its nuclear power production from 25 nuclear plants in 2016 was the fifth-largest in the world, according to the World Nuclear Association.

The country was the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy previous year, according to the World Nuclear Association, with its 25 reactors generating about a third of its electricity. He said the seismic resistance of the country's nuclear power plants - which had been reinforced since the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan - would be re-examined.

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With the country still setting its long-term energy plans, it is unclear how many will be replaced by new reactors.

The former president Lee Myung-bak saw nuclear as an important source of clean energy, while Park wanted to increase the number of reactors to 36 by 2029.

South Korea is also one of the few countries that have exported its nuclear reactor technology, an area once seen by some of its construction companies as a new cash cow.

"South Korea is not safe from the risk of natural disaster, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact", he said. However, it would take some time for South Korea to build up its generating capacity from renewables and it is likely to have to rely on gas to meet power demand.

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An energy ministry official estimated it will take at least 15 years to fully dismantle Kori No. 1, at a cost of about $571 million.