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The two leading candidates in next month’s presidential election in South Korea are vowing to scale back the country’s reliance on nuclear energy and coal imports, while boosting the use of LNG and renewables in a bid to address concerns over nuclear safety and environmental pollution.
South Korea is holding a presidential election on May 9 to elect a president to replace Park Geun-hye, who was impeached by Parliament late last year and ousted from office in March when the Constitutional Court upheld the Parliament’s decision.
With the presidential election in less than a month, policy advisors for the two frontrunners in the vote have outlined plans to reduce South Korea’s dependence on nuclear power generation and coal imports and promote renewables and additional rise in LNG imports to support renewable energy growth.
The two main contenders in the presidential race are left-leaning front-runner Moon Jae-In and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo.
Kim Jwa-kwan, head of Moon’s energy policy team, said at a forum, as quoted by Reuters:
“We should move away from coal and nuclear power, and shift to clean or renewable energy-based platforms.”
South Korea, currently the world’s second-largest LNG importer after Japan, generated 39 percent of its electricity in 2015 from coal, 31 percent from nuclear power, and 19 percent from natural gas, with the remaining part coming from oil and renewables.
Moon plans LNG’s share of the power supply to grow to 37 percent by 2030 to support renewables growth, while nuclear and coal-fired generation to account for 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The liberal candidate is also vowing to scrap plans for construction of reactors that started last year and to rethink the nuclear power expansion plans.
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According to the World Nuclear Association, South Korea’s current plans include increasing its nuclear capacity by 70 percent to 38 GWe by 2029.
The other leading candidate in the presidential race, Ahn, is also targeting reduction of coal-fired and nuclear power generation.
Both Ahn and Moon want renewables to account for 20 percent of South Korea’s power supply by 2030.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.