Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

South Korea to scrap building new nuclear power plants

South Korea to scrap building new nuclear power plants

South Korea's nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) will draft a plan for the project by the first half of 2019 and submit it to the country's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission following a public hearing.

Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country's oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: "So far, South Korea's energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency".

Anchor: South Korea's oldest nuclear reactor was permanently shut down as of midnight Monday.

Since the Kori 1 reactor went online in 1978, the resource poor-country added 24 nuclear power plants to meet rising demand for electricity from rapid industrialisation and economic development.

The reactor will be taken down from 2022 after nuclear fuel cooling and safety assessments. During his campaign, Moon vowed to review plans to add new eight nuclear reactors, including the part-completed Shin Kori No.5 and Kori No.6.

"While Western advanced countries are rapidly ending nuclear power generation, we are increasing it, and Korea has become the country with the most concentrated nuclear power plants", he said. Nuclear safety reemerged as a major issue for the public after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan in 2011, caused by an quake and tsunami.

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

Stressing that Korea is not safe from a major natural disaster, Moon said the country would face calamity if a nuclear accident took place, however low the likelihood of one is.

Decommissioning of Kori No.1 will be carried out by South Korea companies using local technology and is expected to cost 644 billion won ($570 million) and take 15-and-a-half years, the energy ministry said in a statement.

He also pledged to decommission 10 aged coal power plants within his five-year term and to stop building new coal power plants.

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