South Korean president accepts public decision

23 October 2017

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said he will respect the decision of a Citizens' Jury that construction of units 5 and 6 of the Shin Kori nuclear power plant should continue. In a statement yesterday, he said construction of the project will resume soon, but that no more new plants will be built.

President Moon made an election pledge to phase out South Korea's use of nuclear energy. Following his election, he said plans for new power reactors will be cancelled and the operating periods of existing units will not be extended beyond their design life. Moon said he would reach a "social consensus" as soon as possible on whether the construction of Shin Kori 5 and 6 will proceed. In July, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) decided to suspend construction work on the two APR1400 units while a government-appointed committee debated the country's nuclear energy policy.

Following months of debate, the Citizens' Jury announced on 20 October that it recommended construction of the two units should be resumed. The panel - comprising 471 randomly-selected citizens - voted 59.5% in favour of construction proceeding.

In a statement released by the presidential office, the Cheong Wa Dae, Moon said the government will "quickly resume" the construction of the Shin Kori 5 and 6 "in accordance with the outcome of the debate".

Media reports suggest President Moon will deliver a construction resumption order at a cabinet meeting tomorrow.

He thanked the committee for "making the difficult choices on behalf of the people". Moon said, "I believe democracy becomes perfect when people have the right to discuss, and when they accept the outcome of such discussions. I also ask those who supported my election pledge to halt construction to respect and accept the public debate commission's recommendation."

However, he maintained that the government will not allow the construction of other new reactors and aims to suspend the operation of the Wolsong 1.

"We will further strengthen nuclear safety standards so that local residents can be rest assured, and we will improve the transparency of nuclear power plant management by addressing nuclear power plant irregularities," Moon said.

He noted the use of renewable energy and natural gas will be expanded to reduce the country's dependence on nuclear energy. In addition, the government will also focus on developing and exporting technology for decommissioning nuclear power reactors to offset losses associated with the export of nuclear power technology.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News