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South Korean President Details Phase-out of Coal, Nuclear Power

South Korean President Details Phase-out of Coal, Nuclear Power
08/01/2017 | Darrell Proctor

During his electoral campaign, South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to end the country’s reliance on coal and also said the nation would move away from nuclear energy. He took a major step in that direction in June, saying his country would not try to extend the life of its nuclear plants, would close 10 existing coal-fired plants, and would not build any new coal plants.

The president, who took office in May 2017, has made energy policy a cornerstone of his administration and has moved quickly to implement his policies (see “A Mixed Bag of Nuclear Developments in UAE, S. Korea, Switzerland and S. Africa” in the July 2017 issue). South Korea has been among the world’s largest producers of nuclear energy and one of the few nations to export its nuclear technology. Former President Lee Myung-bak, who served from 2008 to 2013, supported nuclear energy as part of his clean energy policy that called for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016, a third of the country’s electricity came from nuclear plants, and the World Nuclear Association said South Korea’s nuclear production from its 25 operating plants ranked No. 5 in the world.

...“So far South Korea’s energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. Cheap production [costs] were considered the priority while the public’s life and safety took a back seat. But it’s time for a change,” Moon said. “We will abolish our nuclear-centered energy policy and move toward a nuclear-free era.”

...South Korea took a hard look at nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in neighboring Japan. A 2012 scandal in which plants were shut down after it was discovered parts were being supplied with fake certificates (see “Documentation Scandal Strains South Korea’s Power Supplies” in the August 2013 issue), along with a recent spate of earthquakes in southeastern South Korea, also have brought concern. Seismologists said four of the nine most-powerful quakes in the country’s history have occurred in the past three years, including a 5.8-magnitude quake—the largest since seismic activity began being recorded in 1978—in September 2016...

More at http://www.powermag.com/south-korean-president-details-phase-out-of-coal-nuclear-power/
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