Ruling Party Rep. Calls for Resuming Shin Hanul Nuclear Power Units 3&4 Construction
Claims at New Year greeting sparks pro vs. con debate among ruling party lawmakers
Dignitaries, including leaders of the Korean nuclear power community, attend a New Year greeting of those in the nuclear power industry held at Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel on Jan. 11. They include Minister You Young-min of the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), President Chung Jae-hoon of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, and Rep. Song Young-gil of the Democratic Party of Korea. (Photo: KHNP)
Amid an collapse crisis within the Korean nuclear power, caused by the government’s policy of weaning the nation off nuclear power, a ruling party lawmaker wants the construction of Hanul Nuclear Power Units Nos. 3 and 4 to be resuming, after it was suspended.
At a New Year greeting for those in the nuclear power industry at Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel on Jan. 11, Rep. Song Young-gil of the Democratic Party said resuming the Shin Hanul Nos. 3 & 4 project should be considered. Rep. Song spoke in detail about the request, calling for resuming the Shin Hanul project to sustain the nuclear power industry and even to use it as a bridge to export nuclear power abroad.
Rep. Song said exporting nuclear power units were worth about $5 billion, equivalent to selling 250,000 mid-size passenger cars or 5 million smartphone units abroad.
The government nullified the construction of six new nuclear power units in accordance with its so-called energy paradigm shift. Cheonji Nuclear Power Units 1 & 2 as well as Daejin Nuclear Power Units 1 & 2 were revoked.
The annulling of the construction of Shin Hanul Nuclear Power Units 3 & 4, whose progress rate stands at 30 percent, has been put on hold. The Korean nuclear power industry has adamantly demanded the resumption of the Shin Hanul project, saying that if the construction of the project is annulled, it will lead to the collapse of the industry.
Rep. Song maintained that the halt of the construction of new nuclear power units will almost actualize the collapse of the nation’s nuclear power equipment and material supply network. He claimed that nuclear power equipment and materials should be supplied on a continued basis to ensure the safe operation of nuclear power units and boost exports.
President Chung Jae-hoon of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, stressing an energy paradigm shift as a global trend, called for the domestic nuclear power industry’s self-sufficiency. The past 40 years were the good old days of the nuclear power industry when the government had selected nuclear power unit sites, but such an era no longer will come, he said. President Chung emphasized the need for finding new opportunities in all fields, including maintenance & repair and nuclear power upgrades.
Minister You Young-min of the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) said, “Starting with the decommissioning of Kori Nuclear Power Unit 3 in Korea, the global decommission market is forecast to grow.” He called for concentrating all capabilities the nation has accumulated to make the most of the prediction.
Minister Yoo said a combined 670 billion won will be channeled over seven years into research to max out the safety of nuclear power units. The government will continue to support leading research such as convergence and multidisciplinary research and small nuclear technology development.
Meanwhile, Rep. Woo Won-shik of the ruling DPK sharply rebuffed Rep. Song’s call for the resuming the construction of the Shin Hanul Nos. 3&4 project. Rep. Woo publicly accused Rep. Song’s remarks, saying that the latter’s claim was improper in consideration of a change of the times. It was rare that big-shot lawmakers of the ruling party were involved in the pro vs. con debate over anti-nuclear power policies.
Rep. Song gave more details of his claim at an interview with a vernacular economic daily, saying that he was against the ideological dichotomy of nuclear power or new &renewal energy.
He called for the resuming of the construction of the Shin Hanul Nos. 3&4 project to the effect that there should be a “soft landing” in which nuclear power is mixed with new & renewable energy until the latter have a sufficient competitive edge.