Korean support for nuclear rises following UAE deal

3 September 2010

Support for nuclear power in South Korea has increased following the country’s first overseas order, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in August.

The Korea Nuclear Energy Foundation - an information body under the Knowledge Economy Ministry - and Korea Research said that 88.4% of 800 Koreans surveyed said that development of the nuclear industry is necessary.

The survey found 61% in favour of increasing the number of nuclear power plants in Korea, while almost a third said that they would not oppose a nuclear plant near where they live.

These figures were an improvement over survey results taken last year before a Korean-led consortium won a $20 billion nuclear power plant order from the United Arab Emirates.

“The recent survey shows that exporting nuclear power plants is not only beneficial to the Korean economy, but it also raises the interest and trust of the Korean public in the overall nuclear industry,” the Knowledge Economy Ministry said. “Korea’s nuclear power export industry should be seen as a new growth engine and the government will continue to promote awareness among the public.”

In 2009, nuclear power accounted for some 36% of Korea’s electricity. The county has 21 operating nuclear power plants, with the most recent, Shin-Kori 1, starting power generation in August 2010. Shin-Kori 1, the first Improved Korean Standard Nuclear Plant (OPR 1000), is due to start commercial operation in December 2010.

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