Paik Un-gyu the new Minister of Energy of South Korea said he wanted to support Seoul’s pursuit of exporting nuclear reactors even if the country wants to limit the usage of energy. This may be a signal to Poland, which still has not chosen who will deliver the technology for the country’s first nuclear energy power plant.
As part of a deal worth USD 18.6 bn the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) is building the first out of four nuclear power plants in United Arab Emirates and is looking for investments in Great Britain and other countries.
The Korean Minister of Energy made the statement at a time when South Korea, Asia’s fourth economy, is trying to shape its energy policy without coal or atom. In case of the latter, a deep skepticism of the public opinion of nuclear power plants safety has been revealed.
Paik Un-gyu confirmed that Seoul wanted to gradually withdraw from using nuclear energy.
“We have a long-term road map for the next 60 years. Our policy is to gradually withdraw from atomic energy instead of breaking off with it rapidly,” he stated.
Currently there are 24 reactors in Korea, which cover a third of the country’s energy demand.
Will Korea deliver technologies for the Polish atom?
Paik Un-gyu’s statement may also be a signal to Poland, which is still looking for a company that will offer technologies for its first nuclear power plant. We do not have nuclear technologies and we are forced to import them. Korea was enumerated as one of the potential partners. It is worth reminding in this context that in mid-April the Ministry of Energy’s delegation went to South Korea where Vice-Minister Piotrowski met with representatives of the Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry and Korean corporations from the nuclear sector.
The talks pertained to Korea’s potential participation in the Polish nuclear energy projects and cooperation in the areas of science and industry.
According to initial assumptions of Poland’s new energy mix, which have been recently presented by Vice-Minister of Energy Grzegorz Tobiszowski, nuclear energy may “potentially” become its part. In his opinion there is room for it because it will play a supporting role and is “not in collision” with coal. So far, we have not known how much atom the Polish energy sector will use, how many nuclear units will be build, what their capacity will be and how much we will have to pay for it and who will foot the bill.