SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – The government has unveiled next year’s budget for nuclear energy research and development spending, prioritizing safety and decommissioning nuclear power plants.
According to the budget proposal released by the Ministry of Science and ICT on Monday, the government will spend 68.7 billion won on improving the safety of nuclear energy, as well as developing technology required for the decommissioning process, accounting for nearly one third of next year’s nuclear energy R&D budget.
“The budget is designed to reflect a shift in the government’s energy policy in nuclear R&D projects. We have placed a focus on developing comprehensive technological capabilities in nuclear energy to bring about a new paradigm of R&D projects, with a focus on public safety,” said Lee Jin-gyu the vice minister of Science, ICT and future planning.
The newly released budget update reflects a change of direction in the Moon administration’s energy policy, with the focus on safety and decommissioning offering a stark contrast to the pursuit of economic growth that has taken center stage over the last two decades.
A total of 203.6 billion won will be spent on nuclear energy research and development next year, up 11.7 billion won from this year’s budget, largely due to commissioning research projects into denuclearization.
Working with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the science ministry will develop a total of 96 types of technology by 2012, among which 58 will be commercialized, with a budget of 13.8 billion won.
When broken down in detail, the government will spend 40 billion won to improve the safety of nuclear power plants, while an additional 14.8 billion won will be spent on safely managing spent nuclear fuel.
Under the new plan, exports of small and medium-sized nuclear reactors for research purposes will be encouraged with increased financial support.
The budget is expected to have an impact on the Ministry of Science and ICT’s five-year nuclear energy plan between 2017 and 2012, which could prompt department and business reshuffles.
Next year’s budget for basic research on atomic energy was slashed from 22.1 billion won to 17.1 billion won.