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S. Korea recommended to keep ratio of nuclear power below 30 pct by 2035

2013/10/13 12:01

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea should maintain the ratio of electricity produced by its nuclear power plants below 30 percent during the next two decades, a government energy consultation group has recommended, a sharp turnaround from nuclear power-oriented energy policies pursued by the previous government.

The recommendation is part of a long-term energy management plan unveiled by the consultation group comprised of private and government experts on Friday. Based on the recommendation, the government will map out its energy polices from 2013 to 2035.

The group recommended the government maintain the ratio of power generated by nuclear power in the range of 22-29 percent during the cited period.

This is far lower than the 41 percent proposed for the 2008-2030 period under the previous Lee Myung-bak administration.

Currently, nuclear power accounts for 26.4 percent of electricity being generated here, which means that the group recommended the government maintain the current level of dependency during the next two decades.

This is a significant turnaround from the country's decades-old energy policies that have been focused on increasing dependency on nuclear power in supplying electricity since its first nuclear plant was up and running in 1978.

This move might be influenced by heightened safety concerns over nuclear power following Japan's Fukushima accident in 2011.

"Our recommendation presents a broad direction on how much we depend on nuclear power. Details on whether to close decrepit power plants or go ahead with previous plans to build new ones will be included in the power supply blueprint to be unveiled in the future," an official of the consultation group said.

In order to reduce excessive consumption, the group also recommended the government hike electricity fees, while lowering the rates for other energy sources such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

To that end, it asked the government to revise tax laws in a way that encourages the use of LNG and other energy sources, and also recommended toughen rules on the use of environmentally unfriendly energy sources.