President Moon Jae-in presented a new timetable to reduce South Korea's heavy dependence on nuclear energy and increase the proportion of clean and renewable energy sources to 20 percent of total power supplies by 2030.
The plan was contained in Moon's opening speech Friday at the second annual meeting of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju.
Moon suggested the increased use of clean and renewable energy is inevitable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "We plan to reduce coal-fired power plants and move towards a country free of nuclear power plants."
Nuclear energy accounts for about 30 percent of its power supply and energy-related scholars have opposed a radical change, citing the slow pace of renewable energy development. However, Moon promised to scrap the planned construction of two new nuclear reactors and block any extension of life for old reactors.
South Korea's oldest 580-megawatt nuclear reactor near the southeastern port city of Busan will be shut down at midnight Sunday, ending its extended 40-year operation. The reactor has been the source of controversy with activists raising concerns about a possible disaster following the 2011 Fukushima crisis.
To fight air pollution and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Moon has also proposed the closure of old ones out of South Korea's 59 coal-fired thermal power plants.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org
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