“Wen lost 47.4 trillion won due to nuclear phase-out” Seoul National University Nuclear Policy Center
Research has shown that the Moon Jae-in government’s five-year nuclear phase-out policy will result in energy cost losses of up to 50 trillion won by 2030. Although the Yoon Seok-yeol administration declared the restoration of the nuclear power plant ecosystem, the aftermath of the previous government’s nuclear phase-out is expected to continue for the time being.
The Nuclear Policy Center of Seoul National University announced on the 21st that it is estimated that 47.4 trillion won will be incurred by 2030 due to the influence of the nuclear power plant policy at the time of the Moon Jae-in administration (2017-2022). This is the first study to specifically tally future losses due to nuclear phase-out. The center predicted that the Moon Jae-in administration incurred costs of 22.9 trillion won over the five years, and that a loss of 24.5 trillion won would be inevitable from this year to 2030.
The center classified the Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear power plant policy into four categories: suspension of nuclear power plant construction under construction, cancellation of new nuclear power plant construction, prohibition of continued operation of nuclear power plants, and early closure of Wolseong Unit 1. After that, we estimated the cost of the nuclear power plant vacuum. Researcher Noh Dong-seok of the Center said, “We calculated the cost of replacing nuclear power generation with gas power generation as the amount of energy loss.”
The cost of denuclearization jumped from 1.9 trillion won in 2017, the first year of the Moon Jae-in administration, to 9.6 trillion won last year. This is because gas prices have risen sharply due to the global energy crisis, but the cost of nuclear power generation has decreased. The cost of denuclearization, which is expected to reach 2.5 trillion won this year, is expected to rise to 3.7안전놀이터 trillion won by 2030.
In particular, the center analyzed that the KEPCO deficit has deepened due to the nuclear power plant policy. Last year, KEPCO recorded an operating loss of 32 trillion won, and if the Moon Jae-in administration continued the nuclear power plant development stance, it could have reduced it by about 10 trillion won. The government recently raised electricity rates by 8 won per kWh in the second quarter of this year, citing KEPCO’s efforts to resolve its deficit.
Currently, the Yoon Seok-yeol administration is speeding up the development of nuclear power plants by advancing the construction schedule for Shin Hanul Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4 by more than 15 months. Shin Hanul Units 3 and 4 are targeted for completion in 2032 and 2033, respectively. However, Research Fellow Noh said, “Although the Yoon Seok-yeol government has officially abandoned the nuclear power plant policy, the ripple effect of nuclear power plant will continue for a considerable period of time in the future.”
In the National Assembly, the fight over the nuclear power plant is being repeated. A representative example is the ‘Special Act on the Management of High Level Radioactive Waste’. Currently, three high-level radioactive waste disposal bills are pending in the National Assembly, proposed by Democratic Party lawmakers Kim Seong-hwan and People’s Power lawmakers Lee In-seon and Kim Young-sik. There is generally no disagreement in that these bills contain the contents of determining the site of a radioactive waste plant through public debate.
However, the Democratic Party lawmaker’s bill reflects the Moon Jae-in administration’s policy of denuclearization, and is in the position that only waste equivalent to the design life of the existing nuclear power plant should be stored. On the other hand, the People’s Power side bill says that the life span of nuclear power plants must be extended, and the amount of waste storage must be increased to reflect this. The ruling and opposition parties plan to resume discussions on the special law on the 24th, but it is unclear whether it will pass.