Licence extension for South Korea’s Shin Hanul NPP does not mean new units will be built

25 February 2021

South Korea's energy ministry on 22 February decided to extend the licence for nuclear power plant operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) by two years to build two new nuclear reactors in the eastern part of the country, which were earlier suspended in line with the nuclear phase-out policy. However, the extension of the licence does not mean that construction of the two reactors will go ahead. It is intended primarily to resolve legal issues involving the power operator's status. Cancellation of the licence would deter KHNP from bidding and carrying out other power development projects during those two years.

The construction of the Shin Hanul 3 & 4 reactors in Uljin County was suspended in 2017. Under the nuclear phase-out plan, the number of nuclear plants in the country will decrease to 17 by 2034, from 24 at present. On 19 February Uljin County residents had protested against suspension of the Shin Hanul units, which they said was decided without due process. They said the region was facing severe employment shortages, population decline, and rapid regional economic collapse as a result.

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