New focus is on nuclear power unit decommissioning and safety, a departure from the conventional paradigm of securing and retaining technological competitiveness of nuclear power
Minister You Young-min of the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) set aside 203.6 billion won for the 2018 R&D budget for the nuclear power sector, 30 billion won lower than this year’s. Furthermore, the ministry’s decision to spend two-thirds of the money on nuclear power unit decommissioning and radiation technology sectors all but eliminates research on the development of new nuclear power energy resources.
On Dec. 18, the ministry announced its latest nuclear power technology development strategies that guide the direction of R&D activities. They contained the government’s shift to wean the nation off nuclear power, with a focus on nuclear power unit decommissioning and safety, a departure from the conventional paradigm of securing and retaining the technological competitiveness of nuclear power.
The 2018 R&D budget for nuclear power declined from 234.2 billion won to 203.6 billion won. The ministry set aside 68.7 billion, almost one-third of the ministry’s 2018 total budget, for research on nuclear power unit decommissioning and safety. The ministry has appropriated 68.7 billion won, accounting for one-third of its total amount, for investing in nuclear safety and decommissioning. And 64.3 billion won will go to the nurturing of the non-destructive inspection sector using radioactive isotope and neutron for medical and bio industries. Budgets for projects to develop pyroprocessing for recycling spent nuclear fuel and sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) are not counted in the ministry’s 2018 budget plan since the projects are required to undergo an objective scrutiny by a project review committee. The budget for developing future energy resources amounts to 70.6 billion won, one-third of the total. Out of 70.6 billion won, 17.7 billion won is set for implementing projects to develop the smaller reactor SMART and research reactor exporting. And 35.8 billion won set for future energy resources is related to research on nuclear fusion.
Experts said since the pyroprocessing and SFR, to be subject to a project review in January, has been suspended, R&D on next-generation nuclear power has been essentially terminated. An official said the government’s new nuclear power R&D projects are geared toward the securing of nuclear power decommissioning and safety and the study of radiation use.
KNS Lashes Out at 8th Electricity Supply Plan
The KNS issued a statement at a news conference at the Seoul Press Center in downtown Seoul on Dec. 18 in which it claimed the 8th Electricity Supply Plan was bungled up with the government’s energy paradigm shift. The society lashed out at the government, saying that the 8th Electricity Supply Plan amounts to the suggesting of unrealistic goals aimed to implement one of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign pledges, which isn’t in the best interest of Korean people or Korean businesses.
The statement said the government’s policy of weaning the nation off nuclear power is based on overblown fears and ignores the benefits of nuclear power.