The recommendations of an official commission have been made public. Unexpectedly, a majority favours nuclear energy. Moon had pledged to scrap nuclear power. The country relies on nuclear power for a third of its electricity, which will be phased out gradually over a 60-year period.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Korea today decided to restart the construction of two nuclear power reactors, as an official survey showed a larger than expected number of people are supportive of resumption despite President Moon Jae-in's pledge to phase out nuclear energy.
A state commission charged with gauging public opinion on the Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6 reactors under construction in the southeastern city of Ulsan announced that 59.5 per cent of a 471-member jury supported the resumption of the project while 40.5 per cent backed its abandonment.
Scrapping the reactors was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign promises. After taking office, however, he decided to determine the reactors' fate according to public opinion and ordered the establishment of an independent commission charged with collecting public views and making a recommendation.
Moon's office said the government will respect the survey's outcome. The government is expected to formally endorse the recommendation at a cabinet meeting next week.
The reactors were about 30 per cent complete before their construction was suspended in July. About 1.6 trillion won (US.4 billion) had already been spent on the project.
The proposal to abandon the reactors sparked heated debate in a country that relies on nuclear power for about a third of its electricity.
For Moon South Korea should reduce its dependence on nuclear power and increase the use of renewable energy. However, the government now plans to gradually close reactors one by one when their lifespan is up, rather than rushing to shut them down. This could take up to 60 years.