Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Korea's first nuclear power reactor turned off for good

Korea's first nuclear power reactor turned off for good

Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month's presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a "nuclear-free era".

The president also promised to reduce coal power stations.

Weaning South Korea off nuclear power, however, could take decades, and there is expected to be opposition from construction companies, which have increased technology exports under Moon's nuclear-friendly predecessors.

"So far South Korea's energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency".

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In vowed today to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors as he seeks to steer Asia's fourth-largest economy clear of atomic power. But it's time for a change.

The environment advocacy group Greenpeace beams a message reading "Goodbye Kori-1" on the wall of the nuclear reactor in Busan, some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul on June 19, 2017.

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"We will withdraw existing plans to build new nuclear power plants and not extend the lifespan of nuclear power plants". Its nuclear electricity production was the fifth-largest in the world, according to the World Nuclear Association.

As a part of a nuclear-energy-free roadmap, the Wolseong-1 reactor, which is still in operation after an extension of its lifespan, will be shut down as soon as possible, Moon said, taking into account the power supply situation.

In the following year, fake parts scandals prompted an investigation and spread fear over nuclear plants' safety.

Another 11 of South Korea's 25 reactors are set to shut down by 2030 as they reach the end of their operating lives, although some may push to have their operating licenses renewed.

Recent earthquakes in southeastern South Korea also dented public support in the country that was long believed to be safe from earthquakes.

An energy ministry official estimated it will take at least 15 years to fully dismantle Kori No. 1, at a cost of about $571 million.

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