South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country's dependence on nuclear power, warning of "unimaginable consequences" from a Fukushima-style meltdown. Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month's presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a "nuclear-free era". Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country's oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: "So far, South Korea's energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. "Cheap production prices were considered the priority while the public's life and safety took a back seat. "We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era.
Nuclear energy faces an uncertain future globally as concerns over safety and cost dog the industry. But in the UK, foreign investors are queueing up to back projects. The latest is South Korea. Its biggest power company is in talks to join the consortium backing a nuclear power station in Cumbria, in a sign of the continuing allure of Britain's atomic ambitions to international companies. Kepco said last week it was interested in taking a stake in NuGen, which is 60% owned by Japan's Toshiba and 40% by France's Engie, confirming what had been an open secret in the industry for months.
SEOUL – Two earthquakes that jolted South Korea on Monday night, including the largest ever recorded in the country, prompted concerns about the safety of nuclear plants clustered in the quake-prone southeast. Korea's Meteorological Agency said the two earthquakes, of magnitude of 5.1 and 5.8, occurred near the city of Gyeongju. They could be felt in the capital Seoul, over 300 km (185 miles) to the northwest. Fourteen people were injured but there were no reports of serious damage, a Ministry of Public Safety and Security official said. Nonetheless, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. shut down four nuclear reactors at the Wolsong complex in Gyeongju as a precaution.
In a first for the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun start-up operations in the initial unit of its first nuclear power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has said. The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant on the Gulf coast west of Abu Dhabi, a major oil producer, is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The plant was originally due to open in 2017 but the start-up of its first reactor was repeatedly delayed. ENEC on Saturday said its subsidiary Nawah Energy Company "has successfully started up Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in the Al Dhafrah Region of Abu Dhabi". The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wrote on Twitter that nuclear fuel had been loaded into the first of four units of what he called "the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab world".