South Korea plans to build a total of 31 new nuclear reactors and conventional thermal power plants to meet the steady rise in domestic energy consumption, Yonhap News reported Sunday quoting a government report.
The long-term plan reflects a rise in electrical demand that is expected to reach more than 500 billion kilowatts per hour (kWh) in 2022, up from 368.6 billion kWh for 2007, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.
It also said 37 trillion won ($28.3 billion) will be spent starting in 2009 on increasing the country's energy production infrastructure by 32.37 million kilowatts (kW) to over 100 million kW in 2022. As of last year, the country's energy production capacity reached 65.87 million kW.
The definitive blueprint calls for 12 new nuclear reactors, seven coal-fired and 11 liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired thermal power plants to be constructed in the next 14 years. It also outlines the building of one oil-fired power unit and provisions for clean, reusable energy generation.
The 12 nuclear reactors, which include eight under construction, are expected to boost power output by 15.20 million kW by the target year and raise the percentage of atomic energy power production infrastructure to 48 percent of total capacity from 33 percent at present. The country currently has 20 nuclear reactors.
The ministry added that while more coal, LNG and oil-fired power plants are to be built, the overall contribution of these units to the country's energy needs will be reduced in the coming years to cut greenhouse gas output.
Power generation accounts for 28 percent of the country's greenhouse gas output.
Reducing greenhouse gases is expected to take on greater importance as Seoul comes under pressure to join other industrialized countries that have pledged to actively fight global warming.
South Korea is currently not obliged to cut greenhouse gases as a Non-Annex 1 member of the Kyoto Protocol.