SEOUL, July 5 (Reuters) - South Korea plans to increase the
contribution of nuclear power in the country's energy mix to 30%
or more by 2030 from 27% in 2021, the industry ministry said on
Tuesday, pledging to resume stalled construction work on two
South Korea's new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, has rejected the
idea of phasing out nuclear energy and made it a key pledge of
his campaign to boost investment in the industry and revive its
status as a key exporter of safe reactors.
The U-turn in Asia's fourth-largest economy towards a
pro-nuclear energy policy comes after Yoon won the March
presidential election by the smallest margin in South Korea's
The previous Seoul administration sought to reduce the role
of nuclear power in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster in
2011, which triggered a global downturn in the nuclear power
The ministry said on Tuesday South Korea will resume
construction work on two new reactors, Shin Hanul 3 and 4, and
extend the operations of existing reactors.
While boosting the role of nuclear energy, the country plans
to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel imports from 81.8% in 2021
to around 60% by 2030, the ministry said.
"As the global carbon neutrality trend continues and global
energy supply chain instability increases due to the
Russia-Ukraine crisis and other factors, the role of energy
policy in achieving energy security and carbon neutrality goals
is more important than ever," it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the ministry will also revisit the previous
administration's renewable energy goals, and decide on new
targeted portions for solar and wind power.
Renewable energy's share in the country's energy mix will be
"realistically adjusted to below 30%" by 2030, an industry
ministry official told Reuters, compared with 6.3% last year,
and the previous administration's lofty 2050 projection of
60.9-70.8%. He declined to be identified as he was not
authorized to speak to media.
Coal will be "reasonably" reduced, while keeping
supply-and-demand conditions in consideration, the ministry
South Korea is the world's fourth-largest oil importer after
China, India and Japan, according to state-run Korea National
Oil Corp (KNOC), while its state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) is
the world's largest single corporate buyer of liquefied natural
gas (LNG), according to a KOGAS spokesperson.
(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi, Joyce Lee and Byungwook Kim;
Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kenneth Maxwell)