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South Korea to resume work on 1,400MW nuclear reactors

EBR Staff Writer Published 23 October 2017

South Korea has decided 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.

The move has been approved by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in following a state commission’s official survey, which resulted in majority of people supporting the resumption of the nuclear project.

Moon was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying: "The government will quickly resume the construction of the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors in accordance with the outcome of the debate.”

Work on the two nuclear units was suspended in July this year, as part of the election promises made by the country's President to phase out nuclear energy.

However, the president later ordered the establishment of the independent state commission, which would seek public opinion on the project.

According to the survey results, 59.5% of a 471-member panel supported the resumption of project while 40.5% supported the nuclear project abandonment.

Moreover, 53.2% supported reducing nuclear power generation while 35.5% supported maintaining the current generation capacity. The survey also found 9.7% supporting expansion of nuclear power generation.

The commission head Kim Ji-hyung said in a televised announcement: "In all age brackets, the proportion of those on the resumption side grew as more surveys were conducted.

"The commission recommends to the government the policy of resuming the construction of Shin Kori No. 5 and No. 6.

"Therefore, the commission recommends that the government make energy policy decisions in the direction of scaling down nuclear power generation.”

About $1.4bn had already been invested by the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) on the two reactors, which were about 30% complete in July prior to construction work suspension.

The nuclear reactors were initially planned to be completed by December 2020.

Image: Illustration of Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 nuclear reactors in South Korea. Photo: courtesy of KONICOF.