Playing on concerns about the safety of nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in promised during his successful presidential campaign to scrap or suspend new atomic plants. Now that Moon is president, that anti-nuclear stance is seen as a threat to South Korea’s ambitions to become a bigger exporter of nuclear equipment and technology — a market valued at as much as $740 billion over the next 10 years. The irony is that even as Moon turns his back on nuclear, South Korea has proven itself as one of only a few nations capable of successfully designing and starting up a nuclear reactor using the most advanced technology available. In 2009, a group led by Korea Electric Power Corp., South Korea’s state-run utility, won a $20 billion contract to build four nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates for about $20 billion. Kepco, as the utility is better known, aims to export another six units by 2020. In the wake of last week’s presidential election, Kepco’s shares fell 5.8 percent on May 10. The shares are down about 30 percent since their recent peak in early August 2016. Coming on the heels of Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, the political shifts in South Korea are further threatening the global industry and possibly narrowing the field of reactor builders. As recently as March, Kepco said it would consider sponsoring a reorganization of Westinghouse if requested, according to a spokesman at the time.
Bloomberg 15th May 2017 read more »
South Korea’s new president has taken aim at the country’s choking pollution problem, ordering the shutdown of ageing coal power plants in an attempt to stem growing public anger. Moon Jae-in on Monday declared that 10 of the country’s coal plants, aged 30 years or older, be shuttered temporarily next year and then altogether before the end of his five-year term. The moves comes as citizens of the east Asian nation suffer prolonged bouts of toxic fine dust – tiny particles also known as PM2.5 – that penetrate deep into the respiratory system and can cause a variety of illnesses, including cancer. Nuclear power’s share, meanwhile, has slipped to 30 per cent today from 40 per cent in 2005 amid safety concerns and following a series of scandals. Mr Moon has also promised to shut a number of ageing nuclear reactors in a move which, combined with the coal plant closures, could raise questions about the country’s energy generation plans.
FT 15th May 2017 read more »
South Korean Catholics are opposing both the country’s reliance on nuclear power and the U.S. missile defense system recently established to pressure the North out of future weapon tests. A major leader of the anti-nuclear movement, Father Moon Paul Kyu-Hyn, said “getting rid of nuclear power is the only way to survive, to save ourselves, and save the world,” according to Public Radio International.
Catholic News Agency 15th May 2017 read more »