Yoon slams Moon’s nuclear phaseout as “idiotic,” pledges to reinvest in nuclear power

Posted on : 2022-06-23 16:56 KST Modified on : 2022-06-23 16:56 KST
The president announced plans to restart the construction on two reactors that had been halted by his predecessor
President Yoon Suk-yeol takes a tour of Doosan Enerbility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on June 22, 2022. (pool photo)
President Yoon Suk-yeol takes a tour of Doosan Enerbility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on June 22, 2022. (pool photo)

With the South Korean government proclaiming a major renaissance of the nuclear power industry, President Yoon Suk-yeol stressed that his administration will “actively help out so workers can get excited about their work” while visiting a nuclear power parts supplier in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, on Wednesday.

Yoon also said he would resume construction on units No. 3 and No. 4 at the Shin Hanul nuclear plant, while sharply criticizing his predecessor Moon Jae-in’s nuclear phaseout as having been “idiotic.”

The company that Yoon visited in Changwon on Wednesday was Doosan Enerbility, a leading firm in Korea’s nuclear power industry. Considering that Yoon had already visited Jinyoung TBX, another nuclear power parts supplier in Changwon, as president-elect back in April, this is the second such company he has visited since being elected president.

“If the people who were pushing the nuclear phaseout had actually seen the industrial ecosystem for themselves, I doubt they could have made that decision. The nuclear power industry is something we ought to be building up, but it’s been in trouble for the past few years. That’s very unfortunate, and it’s something we need to rectify now,” Yoon said during a meeting with companies that supply parts to the nuclear power industry on Wednesday.

“The nuclear power industry is on the verge of withering and dying. This isn’t something that can be fixed with a little water and nutrients. There’s no guarantee the industry will survive even if we shower it with aid.”

“Korean nuclear power plants are recognized as being the best in the world in terms of their safety and technological prowess. The door to the nuclear power plant export market is wide open. I’m going to talk up our nuclear plants in my future meetings with foreign leaders,” he added.

Yoon was accompanied at the event by Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang and Minister of SMEs and Startups Lee Young.

Yoon also had a request for government officials.

“The nuclear power industry is currently at war, and the battlefield has been devastated by the bomb blast of the nuclear phaseout. I encourage you to be bold and resolute in placing orders and arranging projects. In wartime, we have to dispense with the bureaucratic penchant for valuing safety,” he said.

In addition, Yoon revealed his intention to resume construction on the third and fourth units at the Shin Hanul nuclear plant, which was halted during the Moon administration.

“While abiding by legal procedures and standards, we will streamline the schedule as much as possible to move forward efficiently [with resuming construction on Shin Hanul units 3 and 4],” the president said after looking at the materials used to build the steam generators and Shin Hanul reactors, which Doosan Enerbility had been working on after winning the contract five years ago

“This site visit was part of the process of achieving the Yoon administration’s goal of making Korea a global leader in nuclear energy by exporting nuclear plants and making the nuclear power ecosystem more competitive,” the presidential office said.

By Bae Ji-hyun, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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