News / Asia

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energy

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energyi
X
September 13, 2013 3:01 PM
South Korea is one of the world’s biggest energy consumers and importers. The government is planning to build more nuclear power plants to meet rising demand, but some cities believe renewable, green energy is a better path to energy independence. From Seoul, Jason Strother has more.
Jason Strother
South Korea is one of the world’s biggest energy consumers and importers. The government is planning to build more nuclear power plants to meet rising demand, but some cities believe renewable, green energy is a better path to energy independence. 

Seoul’s newly redesigned City Hall is going green. Up on its rooftop are just over 1,000 solar panels that produce electricity and heat the building’s water.

Kook Joung-yean heads City Hall’s energy division. He said the panels provided 28 percent of the building’s total energy needs, but he hoped they had a greater symbolic impact.

“We want to encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy too.  We can show them how the solar panels work here at City Hall in hopes they will follow our lead,” he said.
 
South Korea has limited natural resources. The World Bank estimates that 82 percent of Korea’s total energy consumption comes from foreign imports, mostly coal and petroleum.
 
Park Ji-young, an energy analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said developing green technologies was one way to lessen that dependency.

“Renewable energy source is inevitable for Korea to maintain its sustainable development as well as the quality of life for the public," she said.
 
Park said green energy projects, like those at Seoul’s City Hall should be encouraged, but those alone could not satisfy all of the country’s needs.   

Nuclear power plants produce about one third of South Korea’s electricity. There are currently 23 facilities and over the next decade, the government plans to build nine more. The reactors remain a key part of South Korea’s roadmap for energy security.
 
Kim Jong-kyung is president of the Korea Nuclear Society. Despite heightened concerns over nuclear power following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, Kim said nuclear reactors were in fact a green technology.

“The CO2 output of nuclear power is only 10 grams per kilowatt hour. Emissions from liquid natural gas for example are 55 times higher.  That is why nuclear energy is green energy," he said. "Of course there are safety concerns, but as long as those are resolved, nuclear is the cleanest."
 
Safety concerns also have risen at some of South Korea’s nuclear plants.  In the past year, three reactors have been taken off line after faked safety certificates were discovered. And some government officials have been fired or jailed for accepting bribes from parts suppliers.
 
Back at Seoul City Hall, energy supervisor Kook Joung-yean said those safety and corruption scandals just made solar panels and other green technologies more attractive.

“This technology is developing very fast and we have government support. So I think in the future these types of renewable energies will replace nuclear and other non-renewable sources,” he said.
 
And Kook added when that happened, South Korea would be truly energy independent.

Malte Kollenberg also contributed to this report.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, T-SITE
September 13, 2013 9:05 PM
What is the definition of the "green energy"?

What is the definition of the "environmentally friendly"?

Only about CO2? Only about no use of fossil energy?
If you think that nuclear energy is "green" and "evironmentally friendly", please come to Japan and live in near the Fukushima Power Plant for the rest of your life.

by: Stephanie from: New York
September 13, 2013 1:28 PM
Helllooooo, nuclear energy is "green". It emits no carbon. It's also renewable. And it takes up far less space -- therefore killing fewer trees -- than solar and wind.
In Response

by: Stephanie from: New York
September 13, 2013 8:50 PM
Building and maintaining a nuclear plant doesn't require much more labor than solar and wind (which have to be cleaned constantly) especially when you consider that the big thing on the horizon are Small Modular Reactors-- which are..er..smaller and delivered to a site already assembled. And especially considering that you actually get something from your labor from a reactor while with solar and wind you get a teeny tiny amount of highly unreliable power.
Also this hang up about so-called "waste" (I prefer to call it "pre fuel") is a bunch of hype. We can deal with so-called waste the way the French (who get 80% of their electricity from nuclear) do: You recycle it. After the French are done squeezing and squeezing their nuclear fuel the amount of so-called waste is miniscule. France keeps twenty years of worth of waste under the floor (glassified and in lead canisters) of one large room. I've seen it.
In Response

by: Jay Dillon
September 13, 2013 4:50 PM
The "green" that nuclear energy is, is the "green" that you get when you feel really sickly. If you look at the CO2 released by an operating nuclear plant, as compared to CO2 released by various fossil fuels etc., without comparing the huge amounts of industrial work required to develop and build nuclear power plants and manufacture all their parts, to mine the uranium and refine it, to eventually figure out how to deal with the nuclear waste, how to store the spent fuel rods that are far far more radioactive than they were at the start, to deal with all the radioactive isotopes and prevent them from getting into the food chain, and on and on.. Come on, there's nothing "green" (ecological) about the nuclear power industry, and the big crooks promoting this stuff should know it by now.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs