SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will seek to export more its endogenously designed nuclear reactors, the country’s state-run nuclear plant operator said Friday, as it has successfully completed the construction of two new nuclear reactors in the southern port city of Ulsan.
The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) held a ceremony to mark the completion of the reactors, called Shin Kori-3 and Shin Kori-4.
The Shin Kori-4 started commercial operation in August, after completing its two-month pilot run without any glitch. The Shin Kori-3 was put into operation in December 2016.
“South Korea’s nuclear energy industry advanced to another level through the completion of two reactors,” KHNP President Chung Jae-hoon said at the ceremony.
The construction of the two Korean-designed APR-1400 pressurized water reactors started in 2007. The budget allocated to build the two reactors was 7.5 trillion won (US$6.3 billion), according to the KHNP.
The APR-1400 is an advanced pressurized water nuclear reactor designed by the Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), the country’s sole electricity provider.
South Korea has been pushing to sell the APR-1400 model to other countries by winning certificates from European and U.S. organizations, after selling four units of the reactors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The two reactors stand out from other existing plants as they boast a longer life span of 60 years, which is 20 years longer than others.
They can also endure earthquakes with a magnitude beyond 7.0, significantly improving from the previous 6.5, the operator added.
The Moon Jae-in administration earlier announced a new energy blueprint that centers on significantly reducing dependency on nuclear or fossil fuel-based energy and instead utilizes more sustainable resources.
Under the new energy policy scheme, the portion of renewable sources, including wind and sunlight, in the country’s power generation portfolio will jump to a whopping 20 percent by 2030, reaching around 30-35 percent in 2040.
The vision marks a drastic change from 2017, when renewable sources were responsible for roughly 7.6 percent.
Coal-fired thermal power accounted for 43 percent of South Korea’s power generation in that year, followed by nuclear power with around 27 percent, according to data from the energy ministry.
South Korea nevertheless did not cancel ongoing projects, claiming the country’s phase-out nuke policy will be carried out in a gradual and slow manner without abrupt changes.
Two more reactors, the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6, are under construction and are set to be completed in 2023 and 2024, respectively.