South Korea Revises Nuclear Power Goals

South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said this week that the country's government at its highest levels had revamped its energy goals including an escalation of its dependence on nuclear energy from a current level of 27.4 percent to 30 percent by 2030.

Shin-Hanul NPP"The Government held the thirtieth Cabinet meeting presided by President Yoon Suk-yeol on July 5 with participation of relevant ministries and laid out new energy policy goals and directions through a deliberation and resolution process," the Ministry said. "Amid the global push for carbon neutral, escalation of Russia-Ukraine conflict and global energy supply chain uncertainties, energy security and attaining carbon neutral goals are now more critical than ever."

"In response to these changes, it is imperative that new energy policy goals and directions are set so as to better accomplish carbon neutral government projects and the expansion of nuclear power."

The Ministry said the changes in energy policy were five-fold. These included resumption of construction of the Shin-Hanul No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear reactors "with the goal of expanding the nuclear energy ratio to a minimum of 30 percent by 2030."

In addition, the order includes a push for establishment of a special act for high-level radioactive waste treatment "possibly installed under the prime minister."

South Korea will aim for renewable energy supplies under goals set "in consideration of rational and realistic supply conditions" aiming for a ratio of power sources determined "for optimal outcome."

Coal phase-out must be done in a rational manner, factoring in the supply-demand situation and system status." the Ministry said. "Utilization of zero carbon power sources should take technological circumstances into account."

The cabinet level meeting also resolved to pass a special legislation act regarding resources security "in order to establish an early warning system and such preemptive and comprehensive resources security measures."

By 2030, the goal is to export 10 nuclear plants and develop Korea’s own unique SMR (small modular reactor) reactor type (app. KRW 400 billion), and reinvigorate the nuclear energy ecosystem through early project procurement.

With regard to hydrogen, the new regime will pursue independence in core technologies and early completion of ecosystem across the entire cycle (production, distribution, utilization) by establishing a clean hydrogen supply chain and competing to nurture a world-leading hydrogen industry.

For solar and wind power, the goal is early commercialization of next generation technologies like tandem solar cell and giant wind turbines.

"The reconstruction of Shin-Hanul No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear reactors have been confirmed in accordance with the highest decision-making procedures of the Yoon administration, thereby securing the grounds for early execution of KRW 12 billion for new engineering jobs," 

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