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Moon Vows to Faithfully Implement Outcome of Debate on Nuclear Reactors

25 October 2017

South Korea has made a decision to resume construction work on the two Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 1,400MW in the southeastern city of Ulsan. In July, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) chose to suspend construction work on the two APR1400 units while a government-appointed committee debated the country's nuclear energy policy. A 471-member jury who represented South Korean citizens had voted in favor of resuming the construction of two nuclear reactors in Ulsan last Friday with the state commission playing a major role in the smooth running of the debates and survey.

The proposal sparked heated debate in a country that relies on nuclear power plants for about a third of its electricity amid concerns that closing reactors would lead to a shortage in power supply and a spike in electricity bills.

The government said it will also try to faithfully adopt other recommendations from the committee, such as strengthening safety standards for nuclear reactors and increasing investment in renewable energy sources.

Scrapping the Shin Kori power plant project was one of Moon's campaign promises. Under the plan, the construction of six nuclear reactos, including Shin Hanul 3 and 4, has been cancelled, while 14 outdated plants will be closed.

He noted the use of renewable energy and natural gas will be expanded to reduce the country's dependence on nuclear energy. The survey also found 9.7% supporting expansion of nuclear power generation. His approach involves gaining experience with the decommissioning of Kori 1 to prepare for the decommissioning of 11 domestic plants that will reach the end of their design lives by the 2020s, while attempting to win a foothold in an overseas market where around 400 nuclear plants are expected to be decommissioned over the coming decades, including 183 in the 2020s, 127 in the 2030s, and 89 in the 2040s.

"I believe the debate was a chance to create a new mechanism to solve social conflicts and issues, while further developing our democracy", the president said in a cabinet meeting held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.