Korean and U.S. scientists urge Seoul to reconsider nuclear phase-out

2017.07.06 14:21:32 | 2017.07.06 14:22:51

Shin Kori No. 5 and Shin Kori No. 6이미지 확대

Shin Kori No. 5 and Shin Kori No. 6

South Korean and American scientists separately issued statements opposing Korean President Moon Jae-in’s ambitious policy of weaning the country off nuclear power and demanding more study into the economic, industrial, and social impact of the phase-out of nuclear reactors that are responsible for a third of the country’s power supply.

A group of 417 engineering and nuclear scientists of 60 universities held a press conference at the National Assembly on Wednesday, criticizing the president’s half-baked idea of phasing out of nuclear power after the new administration permanently stopped the country’s oldest nuclear reactor and suspended construction of two reactors as part of a gradual step to discontinue use of nuclear to generate electricity.

The scholars raised concerns about reduced jobs, economic loss and cost from shift to imported natural gas, and damage to nuclear reactor exports and urged the new government to give sufficient time for discussions with experts in mapping out the country’s long-term energy supply outline.

The statement is the second issue from scientists following the first one last month that had 230 signatories.

While suspending construction of two additional reactors, the government formed a committee mostly of civilians and left out people from the nuclear sector for a three-month study to decide whether to permanently stop the construction already 30 percent in progress.

Separately, 27 scientists of California-based Environmental Progress sent an open letter to Moon, publicly asking him to reconsider the phase-out policy.

“Given the intermittency of solar and wind and South Korea’s land scarcity, replacing the nation’s nuclear plants would require a significant increase in coal or natural gas which would prevent Korea from meeting its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement,” they claimed.

“Instead of phasing out of nuclear, we encourage you to lead an effort to both make nuclear even safer and cost-economical than it already is through the development and demonstration of accident-tolerant fuels and new plant designs,” they said.

By Ko Jae-man

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]