Korea vows to foster nuclear energy to achieve net zero

Bomi Yoon

Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Kang Kyung-sung gives a speech to support the global Tripling Nuclear Energy by 2050 initiative, at Rove Expo 2020 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saturday (local time). Courtesy of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

By Ko Dong-hwan

Korea on Saturday vowed to share its nuclear power technologies with the world to reach global carbon neutrality at an event in Dubai, under which 22 countries agreed to jointly spur the use of nuclear energy, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Sunday.

Vice Minister Kang Kyung-sung encouraged countries to join the NetZero Nuclear Initiative to recognize nuclear energy as a clean energy, saying that the key energy type has been behind Korea’s industrial development. Calling Korea the “world’s nuclear leader,” he said he strongly supports the initiative’s goal of tripling global nuclear energy capacity — from that of 2020 — by 2050.

“Since 1972 when Korea took its first shovel to build a nuclear power plant, we have built 36 such plants in the country,” said Kang in Dubai, where COP28 UAE has brought countries together to discuss how to cope with the climate crisis until Dec. 12. “Stable power supply from those plants enabled our key industries like semiconductors, rechargeable batteries and shipbuilding to grow and compete in the global market.”

Kang said Korea has been participating in nuclear power plant construction projects overseas and built up technology and experience in planning, construction and operation of plants. He said the country will share this knowledge with the world following the new pro-nuclear global initiative.

Representatives of countries that support the world initiative to Triple Nuclear Energy by 2050 pose at Rove Expo 2020 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saturday (local time). Courtesy of Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

“Korea has already joined global movements to fend off the climate crisis using nuclear energy,” he said. “We are also considering expanding nuclear energy’s portion in our national energy mix.”

Leaders of 10 countries including French President Emmanuel Macron, the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and ministers from 11 other countries including Finland, Canada and Ukraine signed in support of the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy. Among the endorsing countries, Europeans accounted for the most with 13 signatories, while two African, four Asian and two North American states also signed.

Nuclear energy, the world’s second-largest source of clean dispatchable baseload power, is required to reach global net-zero emissions by 2050 and decreasing its use will make the goal more difficult and costly, according to the declaration. New nuclear technologies can occupy a small land footprint and can be sited where needed and partnered well with renewable energy sources, it added.


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