South Korea aims to resume reactor construction by 2024

12 July 2022

South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol has encouraged a speedy restoration of the country's "nuclear power plant ecosystem" - after Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang set out plans, including the aim for work on the Shin Hanul 3 and 4 reactors to resume as early as 2024.

President Yoon was elected in May (Image: Office of the 20th President of South Korea)

The president has vowed to reverse former President Moon Jae-in's policy of phasing out nuclear power, a policy which was brought in after he assumed office in 2017, and followed the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan.

In a briefing to the president, Lee said the industry minister would provide KRW130 billion (USD99 million) work for companies in the nuclear power industry to help rebuild the sector as the country returns to a pro-nuclear energy stance.

President Yoon wants to see nuclear power generating more than 30% of the country's energy by 2030 to boost energy security and help meet carbon-cutting goals. He also wants to see a renewed export push and the restoration of the nuclear energy industry and supply work "as soon as possible".

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Lee told the president the government "will actively nurture the domestic nuclear power industry and energy innovation startups through job creation and exports".

"To attain the goal of exporting ten nuclear reactors by 2030 all efforts will go toward winning project bids in markets like the Czech Republic and Poland."

The ministry also said another aim was to "streamline energy demand and improve the low-efficiency energy system by shifting the current supply-oriented policy to demand-oriented. Efficiency Innovation Agreements are to be signed with 30 energy-intensive companies, accompanied by a nationwide energy cashback policy".

It added: "Plans are under way for nurturing 5000 energy innovation startups via a KRW500 billion fund, regulatory adjustments, and new market penetrations in tandem with public companies."

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power announced in May 2017 that it had instructed Kepco Engineering & Construction - which signed a design contract in March 2016 - to suspend work for the two planned APR1400 units at Shin Hanul 3 and 4 as a result of the then new President Moon Jae-in's policy of phasing out of nuclear power. However, work towards licensing the new units was to continue.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News