SEOUL, April 21 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea said Tuesday it will spend 322.3 billion won (US$264 million) to establish nuclear decommissioning research centers in sync with the country’s new energy policy that centers on using more sustainable resources and less nuclear power.
Under the plan, South Korea will start the construction of the centers in the second half of 2021 on the border between the southern port cities of Busan and Ulan, along with a branch in Gyeongju, some 370 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
State-run energy firms, including Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., will chip in 193.4 billion won, with the central and regional government spending 128.9 billion won.
Through the research labs, the country plans to redouble efforts to foster the competitiveness of its decommissioning industry and pave the way for local firms to tap overseas markets as well.
South Korea earlier announced a new energy blueprint focusing on significantly reducing the country’s dependence on nuclear and fossil fuel-based energy and instead utilizing more sustainable resources.
In line with the move, South Korea is set to retire 11 out of 24 reactors on its soil by the end of 2030.
Under the plan, the proportion of renewable sources in the country’s power generation portfolio will jump to 20 percent by 2030, reaching around 30-35 percent in 2040.
The vision marks a big change from 2017, when renewable sources were responsible for roughly 7.6 percent of the country’s energy use. 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.