News / Asia

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energy

South Korea Goes Green While Promoting Nuclear Energyi
X
September 13, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid