SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Speaking at the “Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders” in Germany on November 12, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pledged to reduce South Korea’s reliance on nuclear energy through a new energy policy dubbed “Seoul, City of the Sun”.
Park described the policy as “a five-year plan to supply enough solar panels to equal the 1 gigawatt output of a single nuclear reactor by 2022”.
Seoul has already run renewable energy programs, with considerable success. In 2012, the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” policy was launched, targeting a reduction in energy use. According to official figures, the policy has thus far surpassed its original target of 2 million TOE (tonnes of oil equivalent) and had successfully reduced 3.66 million TOE as of last year.
Park highlighted a secondary phase, titled “Seoul Sustainable Energy Action Plan” which is more ambitious, aiming to cut down 4 million TOE, 10 million tons of greenhouse gases and increase energy self-sufficiency by 20 percent, with 2020 as the deadline.
The mayor added that if the energy initiatives of South Korea’s largest city were carried out nationwide, total energy reduction would equal the output of 14 nuclear reactors. There are currently 24 active power plants.
The presence of nuclear reactors – and South Korea’s overreliance on them – has become a major issue in South Korean politics as of late, spurred on by geographical concerns like the possibility of earthquakes, as well as the haunting memory of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plants meltdown in Japan. President Moon Jae-in’s administration has been aggressive in expressing its intention to phase out nuclear power plants, which has met with both widespread support and condemnation.
The “Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders” was part of a larger event in Bonn titled “The COP 23 Climate Change Summit” that ran from November 6 to 17. As mayor of Seoul, Park also represented the ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), an organization that he has led since 2015.