Korea Sees Need for More Nuclear Power Plants to Hit Net Zero

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South Korea will require more nuclear power plants to completely ditch coal and meet its climate targets, according to a state-controlled research institute.

Atomic power would need to account for 40% to 45% of electricity supply, from about 30% now, for Korea to zero out its emissions by mid-century, according to a report published by Korea Energy Information Culture Agency. Renewables would have to provide as much as 35%, from less than 10%, with natural gas and carbon-free sources such as hydrogen accounting for the remainder.

South Korea is among countries including the UK and the US that are studying the building of atomic power plants to reduce emissions. The Asian nation is facing a lift in electricity demand from industries including semiconductors, batteries and data centers and the energy ministry said in July that there’s a need for new reactors.  


“To ensure a stable supply of power while trying to hit net zero, we’d have to rely on nuclear,” Jegarl Seong, a chief researcher at the Korea Electric Power Research Institute and the lead author of the paper, said in an interview. “‘Of course, we also need to ramp up clean energy and other carbon-free sources while working on the expansion of the power grid to meet surging electricity demand.” 

The government is weighing plans to start work on new nuclear reactors from as early as this year, which will be reflected in this year’s 11th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

By Heesu Lee


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