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Vision of a nuclear energy-free Korea?



탈원전 정책에 따라 한국 원전 수출영향, 원전해체관련 어려움

Moving away from nuclear power is one of the major goals of the current adminstration.
It’s an arduous road ahead for a country where the cheap but risky source played a big role for such a long time.
Kim Ji-yeon explains what this could mean for the Korean economy.
Nuclear energy was vital for Korea, generating 30 percent of the country’s total power supply… the second-highest after coal-fired power plants.
Korea has become a powerhouse of nuclear technology, building its first home-grown plant in 1995, as well as its export of four reactors to the UAE in a landmark, 2009 deal.
By 2010, Korea was the world’s top five exporter of nuclear energy technology, following the U.S., Canada, France and Russia.
Korea’s nuclear energy industry… is estimated to have grown eight-and-a-half-percent annually, to record combined sales close to 23-point-6-billion U.S. dollars in 2015,… while generating more than 35-thousand jobs.
But with Korea’s appetite for nuclear energy, now on the wane… state funding for R-and-D, along with thousands of jobs in the sector,… are now at risk.
Korea’s steel industry, vital to the country’s exports are already spending a billion dollars in electricity, and may suffer the heaviest blow… as their plant operations are very power-demanding.
Not to mention it takes a couple of decades, as well as hundreds of thousands of people a year to dismantle a single reactor.

“It takes around five years to cool down the fuel rods that have been burning non-stop for half-a-century. After the temperature’s gone down,… the reactor is ready to be cut apart with lasers, which requires sophisticated technology. During this process, some parts can be recycled while others are discarded… it’s similar to dismantling a subway station… only with huge amounts of radiation.”

So remotely-controlled robots are needed, which presents difficult technical challenges.
The expert says Korea could experience a brain drain of experts involved in the construction of reactors… since the country no longer needs their expertise.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

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