Prime minister pledges to use more nuclear power
Han’s remarks once again signaled the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s distancing of itself from the Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear phase-out policy.
In the third Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), held virtually on Friday night Seoul time, Han said the Korean government would do its best to achieve Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) goals submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat late last year.
Among the goals was for Korea to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 2018 levels by 2030.
“The Korean government is pursuing various policies while recognizing that the climate issue is an economic issue and a national security issue that puts people’s lives and safety at stake,” Han was quoted by his office as telling the forum.
The prime minister said Korea would actively use nuclear power and search for a “reasonable energy mix” between nuclear power and renewable energy.
In specific, the Korean government will “drastically increase” investments in future nuclear energy technology such as small module reactors (SMRs), while diversifying energy sources to include hydrogen and renewable energy, he said.
Han also said Korea was willing to support the five key initiatives of the forum: to reduce methane emissions, speed the commercialization of critical technologies, put more zero-emission vehicles on the road, decarbonize ocean-based shipping and increase fertilizer efficiency and alternatives.
Han noted that Korea’s NDC included plans to put more than 4.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. Further plans for farming, energy and waste disposal to live up to the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) will also be established. Korea was among over 100 countries that signed the GMP to reduce global methane emissions by 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.
According to the White House, participants in the MEF forum included representatives of some 20 nations including China.
In a statement summarizing the forum, the White House said that many participants emphasized the link between climate security and energy security, “noting that Russia’s war in Ukraine only highlights the need to accelerate the clean energy transition and that renewable energy supports energy security.”
Yoon has long vocally opposed former President Moon’s controversial nuclear phase-out policy and vowed to reverse it if he became president. During his campaign, Yoon promised to resume construction of the Shin-Hanul No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, which had been halted during Moon’s term.
Shortly after winning the race, Yoon’s transition team said it would increase the use of nuclear power and cut coal-fired power generation to reduce carbon emissions.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]