South Korea president says will continue phasing out nuclear power | world news | Hindustan Times
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South Korea president says will continue phasing out nuclear power

Moon’s statement came after a public opinion survey on Friday found a majority of almost 60% in favour of resuming the stalled construction of two reactors.

world Updated: Oct 22, 2017 12:11 IST
Reuters, Seoul
South Korea,South Korea president,Moon Jae-in
South Korean President Moon Jae-In (R) and defense minister Song Young-Moo review the troops during a commemoration ceremony marking South Korea's Armed Forces Day on September 28.(Reuters file)

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday the government will continue to phase out nuclear-generated electricity, following a public opinion survey that dealt a blow to his plans to do so.

“We will completely stop all plans for the construction of new nuclear reactors like the government previously stated,” Moon said in a statement distributed to reporters by his office.

“The government will also step up usage of natural gas and renewables in order to maintain its stance of phasing out nuclear-generated power.”

Moon’s statement came after a public opinion survey on Friday found a majority of almost 60% in favour of resuming the stalled construction of two reactors.

The president asked his supporters on Sunday to respect the outcome of the survey, which he called a “wise and intelligent” response.

Completing the two reactors could mean a reversal of a strategy to slowly reduce nuclear energy’s share of the power mix, and also significantly eat into the liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand of the world’s second-largest consumer of the fuel.

With the two reactors set to be completed in October 2021 and October 2022, according to state-run nuclear operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Moon said safety standards for nuclear plants would be ramped up.

Moon also reiterated his plan to shut down the Wolsong No. 1 nuclear reactor, the nation’s second-oldest, once the government confirms stability in energy supplies.

The 697-megawatt reactor in southeastern South Korea was taken offline in 2012 after reaching its 30-year lifespan, but the regulator approved a restart a few years ago until 2022.

South Korea has 24 nuclear reactors, supplying a third of its electricity.