South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo said the country would develop a comprehensive decommissioning plan to go along with the phase out of 11 nuclear power plants, which are targeted to close by 2030.
The minister announced the plan during a visit to the Kori-1 reactor in the port city of Busan, the Korea Herald reported.
The plant is symbolic of the government’s pledge to not renew licenses for nuclear plants beyond their initial 40-year operations permits.
Nuclear power plants are often approved for additional 20-year runs beyond their first 40-year run. A few plant owners have contemplated applying for a second 20-year extension. In the United States, “several utilities are evaluating whether to apply for one (additional extension),” the U.S. Energy Information administration says, “including Dominion Resources for its Surry Power Stations Units 1 and 2 in Virginia (Current license expiration dates of 2032 and 2033) as well as Exelon for its Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Units 2 and 3 in Pennsylvania (current license expiration dates of 2033 and 2034).”
Although it may take a sizeable investment to re-establish a nuclear power plant’s operational status after a 40-year run, closing a plant after the first license expires still represents a lost opportunity in the fight against global warming and a potential loss for shareholders of the power companies.
Sung also visited Shin Kori-4 in Ulsan, the Herald reported. That plant is still under construction, which is nearing completion. Initial startup is expected in 2019.
Nearby, Shin Kori Units 5 and 6 are also under construction.
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