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Moon's perilous energy policy

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07.07.2017
By Sah Dong-seok

It is not news that Korea is devoid of any viable energy resources except coal. After being liberated from Japan's colonial rule in 1945, South Korea managed to survive on electricity transmitted from North Korea.

The North's electric power situation was relatively good at the time thanks to Japan's massive construction of hydroelectric power plants there. As the inter-Korean confrontation heated up, the then-communist North cut off its power supply to the South. This left South Korea struggling with a chronic power shortage before nuclear power began to come on line in the late 1970s.

In fact, Korea is a globally rare success story when it comes to nuclear energy. It has the sixth-largest number of nuclear reactors in the world, generating about one-third of its energy needs from 24 reactors. Korea is building four reactors in the United Arab Emirates under a $20 billion contract. Its rags-to-riches industrialization would not have been possible without the government's successful nuclear energy development.

So it comes as a surprise that Moon Jae-in, the new liberal president, has vowed to phase out nuclear power over the next 40 years. Of course, he promised a nuclear-free era in Korea during his campaign, but few had expected him to announce his zero nuclear policy so swiftly.

His anti-nuclear policy direction is not basically wrong. As he said in a ceremony marking the closure of the country's first and oldest nuclear reactor in mid-June, there is a........

© The Korea Times