Nuclear power is back in Yoon's energy plan
In its first energy policy plan announced Tuesday, the Yoon Suk-yeol government embraced nuclear energy, a contrast with the Moon Jae-in administration's attempt to phase it out.
In addition to increasing nuclear power's share of total energy, the government vowed to reduce fossil fuels' share from 81.8 percent in 2021 to 60 percent by 2030, while boosting the number of energy innovation startups from 2,500 in 2020 to 5,000.
The government plans to resume construction of the Shin Hanul reactors 3 and 4, which was suspended by the previous government.
The government said it will speed up the opening of nuclear reactors whose construction has been completed or nearly completed: Shin Hanul units 1 and 2, Shin Kori 5 and 6.
Shin Hanul unit 1 is in the final stage of completion and is undergoing tests. The government plans it to run commercially in the second half of the year.
It has a capacity of 1.4 million kilowatts. It is Korea's 27th reactor and the first built entirely with Korean technology including core parts such as reactor coolant pumps and man-machine interface system.
The government is planning to turn on Shin Hanul reactor 2 in the second half of 2023, Shin Kori unit 5 in the first half of 2024, and Shin Kori unit 6 in the first half of 2025.
The Yoon government wants the number of reactors operating to increase from 24 to 28 by 2030 with total capacity increasing from 23.3 gigawatts in 2021 to 28.9 gigawatts.
The Moon government wanted the number of reactors to be reduced to 18 by 2030 with capacity down to 20.4 gigawatts. This would have reduced nuclear power's share of the total energy mix to 23.9 percent.
The government also plans to invest roughly 400 billion won on the development of a next generation of small modular reactors.
The Yoon government said it will create a government team under the Prime Minister’s office that will specialize in nuclear waste.
The changes are not supposed to alter the country’s carbon neutrality goals, although the Yoon government wants to readjust the share of energy from renewable sources.
The Moon government wanted the contribution of renewable energy to rise from 7 percent in 2017 to 20 percent in 2030 and to 30 to 35 percent in 2040.
The Yoon government will announce its goal in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Yoon government also said it will be setting up a government office that will oversee the securing of key resources for national security.
Yoon has been increasing emphasis on securing key resources including energy.
For national security purposes, the government will be improving supplies of key materials and resources and diversifying their sources.
The Yoon government, which is only in its third month, has been emphasizing nuclear energy from the start
Last month, Yoon said his government will reverse the nuclear phasing out planned by his predecessor during a visit to the nuclear reactor developer Doosan Enerbility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, where the Shin Hanul nuclear reactors unit 3 and 4 are located.
The government has also been hoping to bring back Korea’s nuclear power exports, an industry that seemed doomed in the Moon years. It's bidding for major global projects including a 1,200-megawatt reactor in Dukovany, the Czech Republic and 6,000 to 9,000 megawatt capacity plants in Poland.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]