Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

S.Korea survey backs restarting construction of 2 nuclear reactors

The suspension was one of President Moon Jae-in's key campaign pledges to allay public worry over nuclear power.

The expert added that the government would also have to strengthen safety measures regarding the nuclear reactors.

That's a big U-turn from Moon who in June vowed to pull the plug on new reactors and cancel extensions on older ones.

The use of nuclear power came into question around the world after the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant following a devastating natural disaster and tsunami in 2011.

Derailed nuclear power plant construction projects in South Korea received an unexpected reprieve this week as a public survey that the government said it would respect, showed close to 60 percent of respondents in favor of completing the reactors.

"We respect the will of the committee", said Blue House spokesman Park Soo-hyun, speaking at a media briefing after the committee in charge of the survey found almost 60 percent of respondents were in favour of the move.

"With the planned nuclear phase-out delayed, it will be interesting to see whether more aggressive anti-coal policies are enacted", Giam said. The country lacks natural resources and imports almost all of its energy supply from elsewhere.

That compares to South Korea's LNG imports of 33.4 million tonnes a year ago, according to customs data.

But while the government will still pursue scaling back nuclear power overall, said Yoo Seung-Hoon, energy policy professor at Seoul National University of Science & Technology, "as these two reactors have a total capacity of 2.8 gigawatts, that will leave little room for gas-fired power plants".

Should the equivalent of 2,400 MW of natural gas-fired power generation be replaced by these two nuclear power stations that would reduce LNG's share of South Korea's power generation mix by about 12 percent.

Kerry Anne Shanks, an energy analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie, said that killing the nuclear power plant plans could have made such deals politically complicated. Only 9.7 percent said the country should expand its nuclear energy development.

CNN news noted that stocks in Kepco subsidiary Kepco Engineering and Construction jumped 20 percent as the news of the restarts became known.

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