The industry ministry announced on July 5th that South Korea intends to expand the share of nuclear power in the nation’s energy mix from 27% to 30% or more by 2030 and pledged to resume halted building work on two reactors.
Yoon Suk-yeol, the country’s next president, has pledged to increase investment in the nuclear energy sector and restore South Korea’s position as a major exporter of secure reactors. Yoon Suk-yeol has opposed the idea of transitioning out of nuclear energy. The pro-nuclear energy policy U-turn in the fourth-largest economy in Asia comes after Yoon won the March presidential election with the narrowest margin in South Korea’s democratic history.
In the wake of Japan’s Fukushima tragedy in 2011, which led to a worldwide recession in the nuclear power industry, the former Seoul administration attempted to reduce the use of nuclear power. The ministry announced that South Korea would extend the operations of its current reactors while resuming construction on two new reactors, Shin Hanul 3 and 4.
The country intends to decrease its reliance on imports of fossil fuels from 81.8% to roughly 60% by 2030, the ministry said, while increasing the role of nuclear energy. As the global carbon neutrality pattern continues and global energy supply chain volatility develops owing to the Russia-Ukraine crisis and other issues, the importance of energy policy in attaining energy security and carbon neutrality goals is more critical than ever.
The ministry will also review the renewable energy targets set by the previous administration and choose new, more specific targets for solar and wind power. According to a representative of the industry ministry, the amount of renewable energy in the nation’s energy mix will be realistically lowered to below 30% by 2030, down from 6.3% last year and the previous administration’s high 2050 target of 60.9-70.8%.
According to the government, coal prices would be fairly lower while taking supply and demand factors into account. As per the state-run Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), South Korea is the fourth-largest oil importer in the world after China, India, and Japan, and its state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) is the single largest corporate buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world.