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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More