[Photo by Yonhap]
South Korea’s major opposition Democratic Party on Monday slashed the budget on nuclear energy-related projects and raised spending on the renewable energy sector.
Democratic Party lawmakers unilaterally approved the next year’s budget of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy without the presence of their ruling party counterparts during a plenary session on Monday.
The budget for research and development (R&D) related to innovative small modular reactor (i-SMR) technology was cut by 33.28 billion won ($25.71 million).
The i-SMR technology project ? outlined by the previous Moon Jae-in administration ? was launched this year. The budget has been cut when full-scale R&D is set to begin next year.
The budget for nuclear power plant exports was also slashed, with that for a nuclear power plant export guarantee project cut by 25 billion won.
Other budget cuts include 6 billion won for the project to develop advanced manufacturing technology for nuclear power plants that respond to on-site demand and 11.2 billion won for supporting the nuclear ecosystem.
A total of 18.18 billion won has also been cut in the budget for creating a nuclear ecosystem.
On the other hand, the budget for new renewable energy, one of the Democratic Party’s key projects, was raised significantly.
The amount of financial support for new renewable energy was raised by 230.2 billion won and that of supply support by 162 billion won. The R&D project for nuclear power plant decommissioning, which is part of the nuclear phase-out policy, was increased by 8.8 billion won.
By Wee Ji-hae, Seo Dong-cheol, and Choi Jieun
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