It is the first South Korean nuclear plant to be closed permanently. But also, according to the President, the permanent shutdown of the Kori-1 reactor is the first step toward a nuclear-free country, and in his own words, . the turning point toward a safer Korea.
"The South Korean government earlier chose to permanently shut down the facility after some 40 years of activity". President Moon attended a ceremony Monday morning to proclaim the reactor's retirement at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant in Busan. "We will completely scrap construction plans for new nuclear reactors that are now under way".
Moon said he will soon reach a consensus on the Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 reactors after fully considering their construction costs, safety and the potential costs of paying compensation.
President Moon Jae-in said South Korea will move away from nuclear energy and will not seek to extend the life of existing plants.
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Among the 25 nuclear reactors being operated in South Korea, many of them will be subject to review over whether to extend their lifespans during the five-year presidency of Moon that ends in 2022. "The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission will be promoted to a presidential commission", Moon said, "to heighten its authority and improve diversity, representativeness and independence".
The reactor was built by Korea Electric Power Corp, based on technology by now bankrupt USA firm Westinghouse.
He also vowed to cut South Korea's reliance on coal.
Stressing that Korea is not safe from a major quake, Moon said the country would face calamity if a nuclear accident took place, however low the likelihood of one is. He also said the shutdown of Kori-1 can be seen as another opportunity for Korea, since disassembling a nuclear reactor is not only a matter of time but also incredible skill.