The Yoon Seok-yeol administration has decided to officially abolish the nuclear phase-out policy of the Moon Jae-in government, which puts the phased reduction in nuclear power at the forefront, and to increase the proportion of nuclear power plants to more than 30% by 2030. Accordingly, the construction of Shinhanul Units 3 and 4, which has been currently suspended, will resume in the third quarter of next year (July-September) at the earliest. While maintaining the achievement of the “National Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target (NDC) of 40% by 2030” proposed by the Moon administration, the proportion of new and renewable energy is reduced.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on the 5th that it had deliberated and decided on the ‘new government energy policy direction’ at a cabinet meeting. The government has decided to establish an energy policy that is feasible and acceptable to the public instead of abruptly switching to new and renewable energy. Accordingly, by 2030, the proportion of nuclear power in the energy mix (composition by power source) will increase from 23.9% to over 30%. As additional electricity is secured from nuclear power plants, the proportion of new and renewable energy proposed by the Moon administration (30.2%) will be lowered.
Existing nuclear power plants whose operation permit period has expired will continue to operate on the premise of ensuring safety. In order to minimize the shutdown of the nuclear power plant, the submission period of the safety evaluation report for review is adjusted from ‘5 to 2 years before the expiration of the permit period’ to ’10 to 5 years before’. The four nuclear power plants currently under construction will be completed according to the scheduled deadline. Shin-Hanul Unit 1 is scheduled to be completed in the second half of this year, Shin-Hanul Unit 2 in the second half of next year, and Shin-Kori Units 5 and 6 in 2024 and the first half of 2025, respectively. Accordingly, the number of nuclear power plants operating in 2030 will increase by 10 from 18 units promoted by the Moon administration to 28 units. Of these, eight nuclear power plants, excluding Shin-Hanul Units 3 and 4, are in continuous operation.
The share of renewable energy and thermal power in the energy mix has not yet been determined. However, it is judged that the electricity demand announced by the Moon administration when it announced the 2030 NDC in October last year is lower than the appropriate level. This was the background to the decision to increase the proportion of nuclear power plants to more than 30%. The government plans to confirm the proportion of nuclear power plants, renewable energy, and thermal power generation in the fourth quarter of this year (October to December) when formulating the 10th Basic Electricity Supply and Demand Plan. An official from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, “The proportion of power generation such as new and renewable energy will be determined according to the required electricity demand.”
In addition to increasing the proportion of nuclear power plants, the nuclear power industry ecosystem is restored. The government has decided to export 10 nuclear power plants by 2030 and invest about 400 billion won to develop its own small module nuclear power plant (SMR). “If the new government’s energy policy direction is implemented without any setbacks, we will be able to lower our dependence on fossil fuel imports from 81.8% in 2021 to 60% by 2030,” said Park Il-joon, 2nd Vice Minister of Industry and Energy.
Sejong = Reporter Kim Hyung-min [email protected]