South Korea to scrap building new nuclear power plants

South Korea has also exported nuclear-reactor technology.

South Korea is facing tough challenges in resolving the North's nuclear standoff and improving inter-Korean ties.

"We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era", Mr Moon reportedly said as he marked the closure of the reactor built in 1977.

The reactor was built by Korea Electric Power Corp, based on technology by now bankrupt U.S. firm Westinghouse.

Three South Korean nationals were detained in North Korea during their missionary work respectively since 2013 and the remaining three South Koreans are North Korean defectors who returned and are now held in custody, a lawmaker briefed by the South Korean spy agency told reporters last week.

Moon, who campaigned on an anti-nuclear policy, said another reactor, whose lifespan was extended by 10 years to 2022, would be decommissioned as soon as possible.

The government of South Korea will be working on a detailed roadmap for the energy transition, Moon has said, as cited by local media. In the following year, a fake parts scandal prompted an investigation and spread fear over the safety of nuclear plants.

Since the Kori 1 reactor went online in 1978, the resource poor-country added 24 nuclear power plants to meet rising demand for electricity from rapid industrialization and economic development. "We will actively share with other AIIB member nations our experience in building 'sustainable infrastructure, ' such as renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly energy towns", Moon reportedly told the meeting.

Recent earthquakes in southeastern South Korea also dented public support in the country that was long believed to be safe from earthquakes.

Korea has also been a player in the growing market for nuclear power stations in countries with no indigenous nuclear industry. Some experts hope that shutting the reactor may help South Korea catch up to the United States, Japan and Germany in decommissioning plants.

  • Zachary Reyes