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People’s commission votes to build new nuclear plants in South Korea

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People’s commission votes to build new nuclear plants in South Korea

South Korea nuclear reactor
South Korea nuclear reactor
Photo: Wikimedia

A commission that yesterday recommended the government resume the $7.5 billion construction of two nuclear reactors will disband today. The recommendation flies in the face of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promise to shift the nation’s energy policy away from nuclear power in favour of natural gas and renewables.

South Korea boasts the sixth-largest nuclear energy program in the world; nuclear isotopes generate one-third of the country’s energy—coal accounts for around another third of the energy mix and renewables less than 7%.

Mr Moon says he will abandon plans for new reactors, citing public safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. This position has been heavily criticised by local industries, who fear low investment would hamper South Korea’s competitive edge in this sector.

Expected to endorse the decision next Tuesday, Moon is bound to experience a blow to his credibility for backtracking on this key issue.

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